Zombie Escape is the latest in a batch of �line-drawing� games for the iPhone, this time featuring everyone’s favorite enemies (aside from Nazis) � zombies! Set in various locations around a city infected with a zombie virus, players are tasked with leading those few survivors not infected to helicopters waiting to shuttle them to safety. The only problem is, between the survivors and freedom lays a large pack of the shuffling undead, who are waiting for the slightest excuse to munch on some fresh brains.
Initially, the number of zombies on screen at one time, and the number of survivors in need of rescue are pretty small, allowing you plenty of time to navigate your way around the hordes of undead and plot your escape route. Zombie Escape quickly ramps up the pace, adding more hapless survivors, greater numbers of zombies and even additional zombie types. However, to aid you in your plight are a number of weapons, both destructive and distractive, which serve the main purpose of allowing you an extra couple of seconds to lead your survivors to their escape vehicles.
These weapons are one of the more interesting parts of Zombie Escape, giving you cause to drive forward through the levels and rescue yet more city folk. Extra ordinance is unlocked every couple of levels or so, and with the ability to upgrade these as you collect cash (for completing levels, killing zombies etc), there is a constant sense of progression to the game. The survivors, and even the zombies to an extent, stay the same from start to finish, and even the extra zombie strains don’t add a whole lot of variety. They still move pretty slowly, and you still have to avoid them, but sometimes they will leave a stink cloud behind or will explode after a certain period of time.
Mechanically, Zombie Escape does its job well. The visuals are solid, if uninspiring, and the controls, for the most part, are tight. The main issue I had, as the intensity started to ramp up in later levels, was with the selection of weapons. The iPhone screen isn’t the greatest control scheme when you’re in a rush, but Zombie Escape merely serves to reinforce this fact. Weapons are laid out at the bottom of the screen, and for the purpose of not obscuring too much of the action, have pretty small icons that need to be pressed to select each one. When you’re trying to control perhaps five different survivors against a constantly shifting backdrop of zombies, and the game refuses to recognize that you’ve selected an airstrike, or a sniper rifle or whatever, it can get incredibly frustrating, and often leads to mission failure, as you can only afford to lose three survivors per level. However, this is merely a small gripe against an otherwise well executed game.
Zombie Escape offers a fair bit of content for its 99 cents price tag. 28 levels of story, plus a survival option, as well as achievements is pretty good for a dollar, and you will get a lot of enjoyment out of this game. With tighter controls and perhaps a bit more variety, this game could have scored higher, but as it is, a purchase is still recommended.
- Jack Moulder