Developer: Chillingo

Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Another day, another zombie game in the App Store! This time it’s from Chillingo, and the title is Zombie Wonderland. With this game, Chillingo has attempted to blend some of the humor, action, and aesthetic of their popular Minigore with elements of task management and tower defense games. The result is as mixed a bag as the genres it borrows from, although it ultimately succeeds more than it fails.

In Zombie Wonderland, you play Chuck, a handyman for hire in a town suffering from a chronic zombie pandemic. Your job is twofold: stop the zombies from invading the premesis, and keep the place clean. If you do bit these things by sunup, you survive to work another nigh in one of four locales: a home, a bar, a garage, and a cemetery’s office.

The basic gameplay works fine. Each location has a number windows which you must defend. You can shore up windows with wooden boards (the zombies never go for the door) and defend the building with both your trusty shotgun and a single automatic machine gun. There are also chores to do, the main one being to clean up the zombie guts before the night ends. It’s a real mélange of ideas, and it much of it can be fun in little bursts. You’ll spend most of you time tap-mashing around the house, running from window to window and shooting what you see. Each night goes by so quickly that you won’t tire out before the cock crows and day comes.

Unfortunately, Zombie Wonderland suffers from that game-killing combo of brevity and repetitiveness. It is a short game; there are twenty levels across four locations, and although you’ll be playing some of those levels repeatedly (the last half of the game really spikes in difficulty), that doesn’t make up for the fact that there’s just not a whole lot of variety here. Each board is basically the same, and each level on each board is basically the same. You’re just doing the same thing, over and over, level after level: shoot zombies, board up windows, clean up guts, rinse and repeat. And you’ll be shooting the same limited zombie types over and over, too, with the same limited selection of weapons.

As I played, I could see where Zombie Wonderland drew inspiration from other, better zombie games, like Plants vs. Zombies and Zombie Smash, but both of those titles benefited from a huge variety of weapons, enemies, and challenges.

I want to give Zombie Wonderland a better recommendation. It’s got a fun idea at it’s heart, and I like the graphical look of it. But in the end, it lacks imagination in variety and level design. As such, my recommendation is tepid, although zombie fans and Minigore fans will undoubtedly get some enjoyment out of it.

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