Zombies on a muthafu*kin train
Here’s what I hate about zombie games on the App Store – every time I review one, I have to think of an original introduction to write. You lot are very demanding when it comes to quality journalism, and apparently plagiarism isn’t very nice, or so Google tells me. Needless to say, when you’re faced with four billion App Store zombie titles, it gets a little tricky.
Here’s what I love though– zombies are nothing if versatile. You can pair them with anything and make a decent title out of it. Plants vs Zombies, Zombies and Bananas (er, perhaps), and now naturally, Zombies and Trains. And before you complain the concept isn’t realistic, you should see the number of zombies on the London Underground in the morning.
And that concept is simple. Zombies shuffle across the screen in that shuffling way that zombies do, and you have to smash them to pieces…using trains.
Tracks line the ground, and tapping these rails causes a train to speed across the screen taking out any undead in its path in a spray of claret and guts. There are four game modes – Arcade, in which a prize of brains lies in the center of the arena that you must prevent the zombies from reaching, Wave, which pits you against waves of zombies, Crossing, where you must survive for a minute without zombies getting over the line, and Slaughter, in which you have one minute to turn as many zombies as possible to a hearty soup made entirely of entrails. Slaughter is by far my favourite, not least because the game describes it as ‘relaxing’. Heck yeah, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a spot of genocide after a tough day at work.
The Arcade mode is the only one where power ups are available. Unfortunately, they’re a little unimaginative – where there are zombies, there should be chainsaws, shotguns and atomic bombs. Or to put it another way, a cache of wild weaponry. Yeah, this isn’t exactly a first person shooter, but when your power ups only speed up your train, or allow you to earn double coins, it’s surely a missed opportunity. It also means that the grinding you have to do to earn cons won’t seem worth it because the power-up prizes lack pizzazz.
Graphically it’s blasé’, the front end is unsophisticated and cartoony, and the characters and trains are crudely animated; but the way the zombies explode into pink gooey fountains is always fun, and always satisfying. The sound effects are also pretty nice as the crowd noise ebbs, flows and reaches the appropriate crescendo when you impale eight zombies at once on the speeding end of the 17:58 to Southend.
So it may not be a technological marvel, and the lack of truly disruptive power-ups is a little disappointing in a title like this, but gameplay is instantly addictive because it’s so damn simple. And because you don’t have to think too much with the Slaughter mode, it’s satisfying fun when you’re in need of a quick session. You can kill without thinking too much, a great way to let off steam apparently. Careful not to stick your neck out too far on the platform next time you’re waiting for your train to work though. Could get messy.
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