Zombies, zombies and even more zombies is what you get in Zombie Attack! Second Wave. Second Wave is the sequel to the original Zombie Attack! released a year ago. The Zombie Attack! games are tower defense games with a definite own twist. Actually there are two major differences between Zombie Attack! and the million other tower defense games:
- You control the survivor, and towers can only be built and upgraded by the survivor.
- The cost of towers and upgrades aren’t fixed but increase the more towers and upgrades you have. This forces you to really plan your tower coverage as you can’t sell towers, and a poorly placed tower increases the cost of the next tower you need to build.
The controls in Zombie Attack! Second Wave(ZA!SW) are quite good. You can choose to control your survivor by either tilt or touch. I prefer the touch controls as it is easier to put the game down during slower sections. Actually that is the main problem with the game for me, the uneven pacing of the game. There are two game modes available: survival and challenges. Both modes are playable on four different maps.
Survival mode is exactly what you can expect: survive for as long as possible. Once you get your shack smashed into oblivion you get to upload your score to an online leaderboard. I am personally not interested in this mode as it takes too much time to just record a high score.
Challenge mode gives you 20 challenges(5 for each map) with a set score to achieve. There are only local high scores for the challenge mode alongside a rating ranging from S to E. Each challenge has special limitations such as which towers you can build, and how the zombies behave. There is even a challenge where both your survivor, and the zombies move at twice the speed. To me the challenge mode really saves the game, and adds the much needed goals lacking in the high score survival mode.
There are seven different towers, and all of them are useful making it hard to choose which to build. Basic towers such as machine gun, flame thrower and cannon towers are mixed with the more unique decoy, saw blade and hammer towers. Watching the zombies loosing their limbs when walking through the whirring saw blade is really cool. The towers change in appearance when you upgrade them, and fully upgraded they all look really menacing. Even braindead zombies should be scared walking into the mayhem.
The enemies only come in six different shapes, and I would like to have more zombies to decapitate. Actually the graphics isn’t that good when it comes to the zombies. The maps look good though, and have a kind of realistic feeling to them.
The big letdown in ZA!SW to me is the audio. There is no music, and the sound effects are really grating with poor tower sounds. After a couple of minutes I get sick of listening to the endless barrage of machine gun fire and stun guns. You can choose to use your own music but then you only get your own music. There is also vibration when your shack is attacked, and this can not be turned off. I found this really annoying, but at times it is also a great help as you can feel your shack being attacked when your survivor is on the other end of the map.
Another flaw that I mentioned earlier is the uneven pacing of the game. Once you start a map it is a frantic 30 seconds to set up your basic defenses before the zombies attack. Then it is a lot about standing around waiting to get more cash from letting the towers kill the zombies. You can attack zombies with the survivor as he has a large machete. Once the survivor dies though you have to wait for him to respawn. The waiting time depends on the level/wave you are on. At later levels this can become several minutes making it a bit boring. When the survivor is dead you can use a limited number of shack defenses letting you stomp nearby zombies. To me this waiting around is quite boring, especially when you have built all towers you need, and just wait to get loads of cash to upgrade the really expensive towers.
It is not easy to rate ZA!SW as it is basically fun with a lot of own character. On the other hand it sounds horrendous, is sometimes really slow, and has a too small monster menagerie. If you enjoyed the original I think it is a safe bet that you will like Second Wave as well as it keeps what was good, and adds a bit of new content.