All Zombies Must Die!
7th Jan 2012 | 19:30
The undead are so common in games that they've become a slightly mouldy threat, and All Zombies Must Die! doesn't do much for the noble zombie's cause.
Early on, most of the walking dead are cannon fodder for the twin-stick shooting player, easily dispersed with buckshot or cricket bat.
Opening areas are simple to navigate - left stick for moving, right for aiming - and tasks are laid down by automated gatekeeper robots. These can be as simple as backpedalling until you've lined up 30 shamblers, and shooting them to rotten goo. If Doublesix had left it there, the game would be as limp as a zombie's jaw.
Fortunately, they didn't. All Zombies Must Die! has an RPG backbone that adds a meaty sense of progression to your re-killing. You start the game as devoted gamer Jack, but soon unlock another three playable characters, each with pre-built strengths and weaknesses.
As you level up, you can manually add points to their health, speed, attack power and defence. It makes a palpable difference to their abilities: stuff the experience points gained by killing hordes of zombies into second character Rachel's speed, and she'll move so fast that you have to stop and wait for your decomposing foes to catch up.
But enemies keep pace in other ways. At every level, being surrounded usually spells death. Tougher enemies are introduced quickly, and regular zombies are joined by zombies with riot shields, zombies in straitjackets, and so on. They all force you to vary your tactics accordingly, meaning battles don't always follow the same template.
Quests require you to lure zombies into certain areas and then set them alight, irradiate them, or affect their status in some other way before killing them to unlock new toys. (A crafting system helps as well.)
All Zombies Must Die! is pleasingly compelling stuff. It's only after a healthy few hours of mutilation that your shotgun arm will start to tire of the endless shooting in the same limited areas.