Review: #killallzombies

“Looks like we have reached the end, I don’t want to live again”

That sounds bleak doesn’t it? Zombies are in the in thing, have been for years. Success of hit shows like The Walking Dead have cemented zombies into popular culture, grim, sombre, hopeless.

The lyrics of the opening theme suggest this is another zombified downer. However, you instantly realise that is not the case. Take end of the world lyrics, and blast them out over an extremely catchy rock song. #killallzombies is great fun.

At the moment, only ‘Arena’ is available to play but with more modes going to be added down the line. Once you start and grab a weapon, the music stops, wind blows, and you’re hit with a stark bleakness.

The idea of the game, like many zombie games is to survive. Zombies approach from all directions and you have to kill them all, twin stick style. Kill some and you’ll level up – then more appear and rinse, repeat. That’s all there is too it. But why can’t I stop playing?

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Ok so there is a bit more to this. Each time you level you get a choice of perk. It could be an XP bonus but instant death, or temporary speed gains, or permanent perk duration bonuses. There’s a lot of choice which means each game pans out slightly differently although it’s a shame that the frantic option stops each time you get to select a perk.

The arena is oddly bland. A browny grey hexagonal grid isn’t hugely inspiring but as the game moves on they can be manipulated. Bits pop up or drop down to make walls/valleys to help protect or hinder you and add some flexibility to the levels. Enemy variety changes over time with bigger zombies, ravenous dogs added to the mix. Despite a promise of huge bosses I’ve not yet encountered any despite getting to a reasonably high level of survival (in my opinion!). Maybe these are also to be added later.

Powerups and health pick ups appear in the arena along with a fairly weird selection of items. So ambulances fly in (don’t get crushed) which can be destroyed for health, army trucks for ammo along with land mines, spiral slicers which should be avoided (both by you and the zombies). There are some more random elements which I won’t list to spoil but I had a big smile to see Thor’s hammer fly in and smash a hole in the arena.

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One of the core selling points of this is the social aspect. As is often the case with these sort of games a high score leaderboard is going to be the biggest – well only appeal currently – to bring people back to it. But the hashtag of the title is important. You’re encouraged to stream your performance and those watching get to vote on your game. So they can be helpful (drop unlimited ammo) or hinder you (zombie dogs!) depending on how much they want to see you succeed or punished. It’s a nice idea although I could only muster two viewers whilst streaming. The good news is that even if no one votes, the game randomly picks one of the two options so this adds some variety to the game.

I’m not sure there’s enough variety in this game however to keep you playing or keep people watching on a stream. Maybe for successful players at a high level it might get more interesting this way, yet the lack of any other modes at present is a shame.

So #killallzombies. Addictive but limited. Fairly unbalanced and unforgiving. Great music. Good sense of humour. Too much brown. Add a point when more modes become available.

Reviewed on PS4

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