So where are those damn zombies then?
A game with the word zombie in the title not heavy on zombies is weird. Considering that us reviewers are as sick of the word zombie, as of ninjas, penguins and god forsaken pandas. The word quest is also misleading, as there is very little questing going on in this game. A more suitable title would have been Monster Academy, or Chamber of Challenge. An even more suitable name would be: spinoff from that 7th Guest minigame with bacteria.
The gameplay is deceptively simple to get into, but hard as nails to master. Each turn you can move one of your minions, or use a powerup. Moving a minion one step away clones it into two. Moving it across an open space moves the minion instead, and you don’t gain any extra. If your moved minion ends up near an enemy it converts it into your own kind. The more enemy minions you end up next to the more you can convert, and this is the key to winning the game. There is a counter telling you how many followers you have versus the enemy.
There are a number of different powerups to spice up the gameplay. Shield from attack for a number of turns is a defensive powerup, and a airlifting an opponent from the board is offensive. As the game progresses you gain more powers, and this goes for the opponent as well. I found myself focusing on moving my minions more than using the powers at my disposal. For more advanced strategies these are mandatory.
The single player experience is divided into five different enemies: Torquemada, Lecter(copyright?), Frankenstein, Dracula and Pinhead. Each opponent is met in four different bouts ranging in easy to hard difficulty. If you are picky you might say that the single player only boasts 20 levels. To me that is like saying chess only has a limited number of levels. Depending on how you lay out your tactics in Zombie Quest you will have different gameplay experiences. Stupid moves on easy might lead to defeat, as is true for chess too.
Pass n Play multiplayer for two local players is available, and it is a nice addition for the bus ride. The game would benefit from an online multiplayer option as well. Considering that the game uses Game Center for leaderboards, and achievements one can only hope for multiplayer later on, or at least in a sequel.
The let-down in Zombie Quest is the quite boring presentation. Sure you have a number of pawns moving about on a board, but I would still like a bit more animation. At least a proper death animation once in a while. Optional skins would also be appreciated to spice things up. The music is there that is all I can say that I remember. More could have been done on the subject matter when it comes to a audio as well.
Zombie Quest HD might put a lot of people off considering it has the word zombie in the title. Given another skin, name, friendly subject matter and online multiplayer it could be a potential new Hero Academy. The gameplay is the strength of Zombie Quest HD, and it deserves to be packaged with more care.
Zombie Quest HD – Mastermind the Hexes! $1.99 iPad only
Seller: Pavel Tarabrin
Zombie Quest – Mastermind the Hexes! $0.99 iPhone/iPod