Format: Playstation minis (PS3, PSP, PS Vita)
Developer: OpenEmotion Studios/Team Custard Pug
From the minute you see the title ‘I Kill Zombies’, it’s
immediately clear that the game is going to involve a whole lot of zombie
killing. If this is your sole concept for a game, you’d better make sure that
killing the bloody things is at least fun. Unfortunately, this insufferably
dull game fails to do so.
The main problem with the game is that there is not one
single original idea in the entire thing, and the gameplay is a repetitious
mash-fest with zero nuance or skill involved. You play as a contestant in a
zombie survival gameshow (much like Terror is Reality from Dead Rising 2) who must complete 40 challenges, nearly all of which
involve killing a tedious amount of identikit enemies. Your character has weak
and heavy attacks, assigned to square and triangle respectively, and you can
lob grenades with R1. There is also a chainsaw attack, which can be used for a
limited time when picked up, however it misses a crucial element – it doesn’t feel like a chainsaw, and this
encapsulates how I feel about I Kill Zombies as a whole. The whole thing
completely lacks any impact.
Firstly, the game’s dull arena combat concept is uninspiring
to say the least, and inevitably means the gameplay involves little more than running
about in a confined area hitting things. The arenas themselves are also unimaginative;
most of them are simply square rooms with the odd spinning blade chucked in at
the sides. In the absence of any creative level design, the area is swamped
with as many zombies as is possible, and you are tasked with killing them. ‘Kill
50 zombies!’ cries one mission objective. ‘Kill 100 zombies!’ yells the next.
Oh, but here comes variety! ‘Kill 75 zombies only using a chainsaw!’ screams
the next. If the game had an incredibly clever and robust combat system then
maybe this would be acceptable, but it is not. Your character has one combo.
One! So you can either spam that one basic combo relentlessly, or you can
launch a bevy of unconnected blows. The choice is yours, gamers. Watch out, Devil May Cry!
The developers seem to have attempted to add variety by
including Track and Field inspired
stages in which you have to mash the square and triangle buttons in order to
flee from zombies, others in which you have to score field goals with zombie’s
heads and some in which you must defend a teapot against zombie onslaught (LOL,
so random!). The teapot defence challenges consist of standing in a stationary
position and hammering the square button as zombies approach, scoring a field
goal is a simple case of pressing X at the correct time on power and accuracy
meters and the Track and Field style
stages are ridiculously difficult, as they require you to mash square and
triangle as fast as possible (requiring both hands) whilst simultaneously
moving the character from side to side with the analogue stick in order to
avoid obstacles. Rather than providing a welcome relief from the unrelenting
tedium of the standard missions, these ‘fun’ novelties make you even more
frustrated with the developers’ seeming lack of knowledge how to make a
videogame work properly.
I get no enjoyment out of kicking a cheap indie game, but
there is something very cynical about I
Kill Zombies. With no gameplay footage available prior to release and a
last-minute delay to iron out technical issues, it is clear that the studio
were internally aware of the game’s poor quality. Rather than swallowing their
pride and delaying the game further, Open Emotion have farted out a substandard
but marketable product, relying on impulse sales based on the fact it has
‘zombies’ in the title. It is clear that ‘smaller projects’ including IKZ are
now Open Emotion’s secondary focus, and as they move onto bigger and better
things they are demonstrating a complete lack of respect for the community
which got them where they are today. I
Kill Zombies is a wretched game, but this is not the worst thing. The worst
thing is that it comes from a studio which is capable of so much better.