App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Oh look, another zombie game.
At this point, we might as well make peace with the fact that zombies will always be a prominent feature in video games to some degree. They're everywhere and they just won't stay dead. Best to just accept that and move on. And besides, just because a game has zombies in it doesn't mean it can't be fun. Just look at Zombie Area! for proof.
Apocalypse, virus, reanimated corpses, etc. It's the same story as always. This time, players get to control a lone rocker/punk with a shotgun as he attempts to not die in this zombie-infested world. Also not a huge departure. The gameplay is where things deviate from the playbook a bit. Zombie Area! is a hyper-twitchy arcade shooter that requires fast reflexes and even faster tapping in order to get those high scores. Touching the screen will result in the oddly coiffed protagonist unloading a round of buckshot in that direction, and repeated taps will have him firing blasts at a rate that seems a bit unrealistic for a shotgun. But it works, and it's a necessity given just how plentiful those living dead become.
Aside from being super-easy to pick up and play, there's an oddly addictive quality to Zombie Area!. I'm not entirely sure what that is. Maybe it's the intensity of the speedy gameplay, the driving tunes or the way the screen will become littered with flying body parts when the action ramps up. Whatever it is, it keeps me playing. A lot. I also rather like the little touches, such as the blink-and-you'll-miss-it power-ups for a larger clip and health bar or the way a zombie's head can be shot after it's dead and become a sort of timed explosive. Don't ask me to explain that one.
The accessibility and simplicity are also what might turn players off to this particular zombie kill-fest. There are no upgrades to speak of and no actual customization of any kind (save unlocking new music tracks). In fact, aside from scores and being able to access new areas (i.e. backgrounds) after slaying X-number of zombies, there's absolutely nothing to keep players motivated. It's still shockingly fun, but I can see some taking issue with the lack of additional content.
Zombie Area! may not have a ton of unlockable content or special challenges to artificially draw out its length, but it honestly doesn't need any of those things. It hearkens back to the good old days of video games, where there were no save points or tutorials. A simpler time where games were just fun, and that fun is what kept us coming back again and again.