Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
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Zombie Apocalift is a casual arcade game in which players manage three survivors as they ride an elevator during the zombie apocalypse. Despite being a relatively novel survival scenario, Zombie Apocalift mainly feels like a middling action game that relies on the increasingly tired zombie conceit to build appeal.
Here's how Zombie Apocalift works: players control three characters that are guarding the left, top, and right sides of an elevator. As the elevator moves, zombies hop on to the lift on one of these sides and players must order their characters to attack. Each level is an elevator shaft that travels a certain distance with a certain number of enemy waves that players must survive all the way through in order to progress. If even one of the three characters dies, the game ends.
To aid in progression, players earn coins which they can spend on - among other things - items, upgrades, and characters. Almost all of these purchases make things a bit easier, whether it be through having first aid kits to heal party members or buying new characters with better attacks. This gameplay structure is totally functional and works super-easily with the intuitive touch controls, but unfortunately before even completing the first level the game reveals that its system for buying items is necessary for progression, rather than just a neat persistent upgrade system.
I say this is unfortunate because the speed at which the difficulty ramps up in Zombie Apocalift forces players to play levels over and over again so they earn coins to buy upgrades so they may get just a little further before having to grind out coins again. The result is a game that gets repetitive awfully quickly. Of course there are in-app purchases available for players to bypass the grind, but then just buying items can take the fun and challenge out of progressing through the game.
It seems that somewhere in the development of Zombie Apocalift, the balance between the upgrade system and the actual gameplay got knocked out of whack. Consequently, Zombie Apocalift is a game that fails to satisfy both players that pay and those that don't.