Here it is, ladies and gentlemen! The final XBLA game to crawl out from the depths of Microsoft prior to the beginning of 2012. All Zombies Must Die is a four player co-operative, twin-stick shooter where you have to, well, kill all zombies. You play as Jack, the gamer, along with his videogame hating girlfriend, his brainy best friend, and… an alien. Yeah, sure, why the Hell not. A simple premise and not the most original in this day and age; games aren’t always about originality though but about enjoyment and functionality… So let’s have at it!
First off: THERE’S NO ONLINE MULTIPLAYER! What the Hell, doublesix? Don’t get me wrong, I love that you included local multiplayer, there are not enough arcade games making that level of sofa-action-based, but don’t take away the online component as a ritual sacrifice! I can only hope, and pray, that there was a very good reason written somewhere on a Post-It in your office that explains this lack of Internet playability on a downloadable only title. Sadly, as I cannot read that note from all the way over here, I’m afraid I’ve got to dock a point or two off.
That ball of bile firmly excreted from my brain, the rest of All Zombies Must Die is actually pretty nicely put together. As previously mentioned, it’s not the most original idea to ever hit the Interwebs but it has made some very smart design choices to help make up for that fact. They seem to have taken to the Dead Rising 2 style of zombie killing by making weapon creations a joy to behold and use. Flaming katanas, electrified cricket bats, and megaphones are but a taste of some of the extremely satisfying ways of wiping out the undead hordes. I give some extra kudos to the weapon and level design though because matched with the cartoon-like graphics they do begin to feel even more arcade-y than perhaps they would otherwise have felt. Yes, arcade-y is now an acceptable descriptive word.
We’ve now firmly established that the weapons are brilliant, the graphics are fitting, that the characters are good if not a tad random, and that the lack of online multiplayer has left me wanting. Excellent! Now for my two remaining pet-peeves: respawning zombies, and back-tracking. These two must be grouped together because when your quests involve backtracking through areas with constantly respawning enemies it does tend to start getting on your nerves the third or fourth time you must crawl back to your base. Your base, I should note, can vary depending on where you want it and zombies will not continue to respawn in that particular area. It’s the curse of non-linear gameplay because I’m certain I’d be calling the game dull had I simply been trouncing back through empty areas to pick up whatever maguffin is required to complete the quest I was on. I think the key element is that it’s impossible to clear out an area that is not designated your base, which makes finding various levelling items and new weapons quite a tedious chore because I just want to look in that final bin. It’s right there. I can see it just let me look! GET BACK YOU BLASTED ZOMBIES!
Actually… Come to think of it, it was a rather fitting way of coding the game. Zombies, by nature, are supposed to be infinite and irritating and leave you struggling to survive. Plus, with the visual aesthetics and giggle worthy weapons it’s quite a good laugh having to hop back to your base with one leg and a minute sliver of lifebar. Especially because I was fortunate enough to have a party of four people arguing over sofa space to play this with over the holidays. Credit to you, doublesix. I actually had a thoroughly FUN time with your game. However, I will end this rather positive review with just one, mini, small question: Y U NO HAVE ONLINE MULTIPLAYER AS WELL?!