Developer: Yongcheng Qi
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

zergmustdie09When I got my first look at Zerg Must Die! on the App Store, my brain immediately went to “Oh boy, another one of these.” Despite the price it really looks like a cheap knockoff in the screen shots. The name, and referencing Starcraft II in the description, aren’t doing it any favors either. However I still wanted to give it a fair shot, which I did. Funny thing is it’s actually a pretty good tower defense game.

Zerg Must Die! is classic tower defense for the most part. Players can pause the action to fiddle around, speed things up, and upgrade to their heart’s content. Many of the towers are familiar, such as missile launchers and standard machine guns. However there are a few differences to the formula such as tower upgrades taking a second or two to complete, leaving the tower inoperable for that time. Enemies reaching the base also have to grab up to ten glowing orbs and carry them back to the entrance in order to actually damage the base, and if they’re destroyed before they can escape the orbs will drift back into place on their own.

There’s some awkwardness to the animations in Zerg Must Die! but overall it looks pretty good. Despite a few seemingly missing animation frames the turrets, bugs, and environments themselves sport a surprising amount of detail. I also really liked the orb mechanic. It gives players an extra chance to succeed, assuming they can kill all the bugs before they fire-line their precious cargo to the exit, but it in no way makes things too easy. Especially if there’s a particularly long line of critters ready to pick up the “ball” as soon as it’s dropped.

zergmustdie04Of course there’s still the matter of all the rampant unoriginality. I’m honestly not sure how the developers managed to get away with using “Zerg” in their title or as the name for this particular alien threat. The obvious plea for attention via big name callouts like Starcraft II and Defense Grid in the App Store description are also a major turn off. It’s a shame, really, because when taken as a standalone tower defense game with no tenuous (and questionable) connection to other properties it’s actually not bad. It’s even pretty good. However dropping big names can skew expectations as well as risk getting pulled off of the store.

Zerg Must Die! is an unexpectedly solid tower defense game that relies way too much on shady name-dropping. On the one hand I feel like it’s worth checking out for fans because it’s actually a pretty good game. On the other hand it’s nowhere near as good as the games it tries to compare itself to.


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