There is definitely a first for everything in our modern world. Crawling dead carcasses of large whales attacking is something I have not encountered prior to playing BioDefense: Zombie Outbreak from Resolution Interactive. It seems that all developers need at least one zombie game under their belt. Resolution Interactive is usually known for off road racing but somehow they have managed to insert a zombie game into their portfolio. And a really good one at that.
BioDefense combines the feeling of the tower defense genre with the controls of a real time strategy game. You have a headquarters that has to be protected at all costs. Earth has been through a rough time with meteors raining down, and debris blocking out all sunlight. Thankfully a highly potent green liquid called Toxium is found from the meteor rubble. The Toxium is collected, and used to get power back up to the solitaire base. Of course something goes terribly wrong, and the Toxium turns the dead into zombies. From that point on all hell breaks loose.
BioDefense comes with 2 game modes: endless mode, and mission mode. The endless survival mode is the main mode of the game, and lets you test your base building skills against a never-ending wave of undead. In mission mode you have a set target for each of the ten missions. I found the mission mode to be somewhat strange. For example one of the missions demanded that my headquarters survived for a set time. With only a tiny health bar left for the HQ the timer ticked to zero, and I won the level. With no turrets left, and a dead base it feels strange to call it a win. The ten missions still add variation, and are quite hard to complete.
In a RTS game I hate being attacked when trying to assemble an attack force, and I usually neglect the defense of my base. In BioDefense it is all about defending, and placing towers for maximum zombie carnage. To be able to place anything you need enough light, and placing lamps is necessary. Furthermore turrets don’t fire into darkness. There are only a handful of different buildings to expand the base with. The Toxium collectors can only be placed on certain green pools, and the pools have limited supply. Power generators are needed to be able to use anything. Machine gun turrets are cheap, and have quite a lot of firepower. The missile launchers are slower, but have an area effect. To me I rather use a lot of the weaker type, as I can build extra towers here and there.
Upgrading the technology of the base is costly but lets you upgrade towers, collectors and power generators. I can’ really tell whether it is best to upgrade towers or build extra ones. Still I usually research the new Tech because I like new things as a person.
The graphics are well done, bloody and dark. The HUD gives good information without being cluttered. The six different enemies all look, and die in their own manner. Using a black fog of war, and a minimap showing the enemies as red dots before they arrive makes the game quite haunting. Furthermore you get to know how many zombies are on the way. 120 from the west and 34 from the east at the same time as 2 from the north makes the strategy hard to decide. The fewer are probably harder, but it all depends on what towers you have where. To be able to build in peace you can slow down the speed to half. Double the speed is also available for those times when you try to save up for a new research.
BioDefense: Zombie Outbreak comes with full Openfeint integration with online leaderboards, and 25 achievements. The game also keeps track of your statistics, and has a database for buildings and enemies.
The music is dark brooding, and would not be out of place in Resident Evil. The sound effects are great with turrets serving death, and the dead consuming it. You can play your own music, and keep the sound effects. Either play upon starting the game or use the in game iPod library access.
BioDefense: Zombie Outbreak is a great game combining a user friendly interface, precise touch controls, frantic battles and great presentation. It caters both to the casual RTS gamer, and the hardcore TD fanatic. It gets my total recommendation.