Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

The name “Gameloft” tends to conjure up images of all manner of homages to console games that have been reworked, stripped down, and crammed onto mobile devices. Not bad games, mind, just somewhat uninspired ones. I’ll admit that Zombiewood isn’t exactly “new” as far as twin-stick zombie shooters goes, so it’s not exactly breaking the pattern, but I’ll be darned if Gameloft didn’t do an utterly fantastic job in releasing one of the most polished and refreshing examples of the sub-genre I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.

So Hollywood has recently shot past Hollyweird and gone straight into Zombiewood. The undead fill the streets, making life incredibly difficult for all the Beautiful People who refuse to abandon their glamorous town for some reason. In fact, many people are still stubbornly making movies and simply incorporate the walking dead into their scripts. That’s where the player comes in under the guise of an actor/stuntman turned actor/stuntman/zombie slayer. They’ll have to complete several “scenes” in order to finish a number of different “films” all while shredding zombies, wrecking scenery, performing special tasks to earn bonuses, and even collect royalties from every film that’s in the can.

Now I’ve played plenty of twin-stick zombie shooters on my phone, but none of them have clicked with me like Zombiewood has. It looks pretty, sure, even on my archaic 3GS, but that’s just fluff. It’s all the little features nestled within the solid gameplay and gorgeous visuals that have me coming back for more so much it’s actually starting to get in the way of work. For starters there are quite a few weapons to unlock and purchase that can also be upgraded, as well as lots of outfit choices that affect both the look of the main character and his defense and speed.

There are also about a bazillion (not really) little tasks to complete in order to earn more cash. Some are assigned to specific scenes (use a specific weapon, find a hidden statue, etc) and earn reels needed to unlock more movies. Others are persistent throughout (kill X number of zombies with X weapon, acquire X coins, etc) and provide plenty of monetary incentive to replay completed scenes. And once a movie is finished (i.e. all scenes completed) it provides players with “royalties” that they can collect once every real-world hour.

About the only thing that bothers me about Zombiewood is the virtual sticks. Their hit boxes just feel too small. I suppose it also takes a bit to earn Special Money to use on fancier stuff, but the daily slot machine and multiplayer challenge mode (a.k.a. The Arena) are both viable ways to earn it faster. I have to admit I had my doubts, but Gameloft has really come through here and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

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