Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4, iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Part slashing game in the vein of Fruit Ninja, part castle defender, Zombie Samurai may not usurp Plants Vs. Zombies as the king, but it’s a whole lot of zombified fun. The object is simple. Defend the dojo from an onslaught of zombie marauders by using fast fingers to slash them to bits. Ah, but there’s a catch of course - innocent citizens of the Japanese town are trying to make it to the dojo for safety amidst the throngs of undead. Slashing one of them costs valuable coins.
The coins are used to repair the dojo – the game, in Adventure mode, ends when the zombies have completely wrecked the place. They can also be used to upgrade the dojo-cum-shelter with things like steel doors, force fields, moats, burning coals, even surface-to-air missiles. But, better slash fast and earn a lot of coins, or buy a bunch in-app; these upgrades, especially the most powerful cost a lot and are time limited. Earning them the legit way is not easy.
Of course as a player builds up defences on successive levels, the zombies grow cannier and more deadly. Some come bearing dynamite and a misplaced slash can kill everything on the screen including the elderly folks creeping their way towards safety. There are also zombies who fly in using anything from hot air balloons to hangliders, many of whom affix themselves to the upper floors and require multiple slashes to kill. Not enough? Zombie public servants who ride in on fire trucks and set the house ablaze – which oddly causes it no harm – leap form their ladders to claw at windows, and cannon-bearing zombies launch mini zombies in group attacks.
Players have one basic power-up that doesn’t cost coins – successful combo slashes load up a kill-all button that decimates the baddies while letting the creeping survivors earn a decent head start.
The graphics are great, especially in the opening cinematic, and the learning curve is gradual enough to keep players engaged. There is no question buying the coins in-app gives players a huge edge; I am a pretty masterful slicer and I never did earn the cred to enter Endless mode. It’s not too hard to figure what that involves, however.
It’s nice to see Alawar, best known for glossy seek-and-find, time management and other slower paced games really start to make a presence for themselves in the arcade and zombie genres. Zombie Samurai has a compulsive replay factor that keeps me coming back for more. I even bought the HD version, which is high praise from a reviewer. This one is a keeper long after the season of ghouls fades.