Indie Quickie: OMG Zombies!

It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

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What is it? A zombie-killing game that is more puzzle and strategy for a change rather than survival horror or twitch action.

Who made it and where can you get it? You may already recognize this game from its origins as a PlayStation Mini for PSP and later an enhanced version for PS Vita. UK studio Laughing Jackal now brings the portable favorite to Steam with a host of upgrades for just $4.99. (There’s still time to take advantage of the 20% launch week discount and get a dollar off if you hurry.)

How much did we play? OMG Zombies completely sucked me in for what felt like only a short time, but when I looked up at the clock two hours had whizzed by. In that time I completed 20 stages and tallied as many bronze medals, thirteen silvers, six golds, and three platinums, which equates to 16.6% game completion according to my save file. Nearly 5,000 zombies have been re-killed as a result.

Any technical concerns or hardware requirements you should know about? Gamepad and mouse & keyboard controls both seem to work really well. I prefer using an Xbox 360 controller for this particular title, but found it kind of odd that the initial tutorial texts only teach the controls based on mouse & keyboard bindings, even if you have the game set to the gamepad scheme. Fortunately, the mechanics are simple so there isn’t anything to learn that you won’t pick up on your own within a few minutes.

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Why should you play it?

    • Not Just Another Zombie Game: Imagine playing a twisted game of dominos, in which the dominos are not little rectangular pieces placed upright in carefully laid out pathways but rather constantly shambling zombies that explode upon death and spray their combustible guts on other nearby undead like a really gruesome chain lightning spell. With that picture in your head, you should have a clear idea of the gameplay in OMG Zombies. After a plant with a strange means of pollination is brought to the USA from New Guinea and used in scientific experiments, the city of Redfield is overtaken by an outbreak after a human test subject gets loose. You play as a lone SWAT-looking policeman geared up with armor and a deadly sniper rifle. Within each map you are allotted only a few bullets to wipe out as many zombies from the 2D black-white-gray-and-red-all-over maps as you can. So, instead of running and gunning or hacking your way through the hordes of zombies as is often the case, you aim a cursor from a stationary sniping position and pinpoint a zombie (or exploding barrel) that you think will cause a large chain reaction with the discharge of a single bullet. Maps quickly become sort of like Rube Goldberg death traps as different types of zombies begin to appear. Civilian zombies just explode. Fat bloaters do the same, only with a wider blast radius. Upon death cop zombies fire off a pistol shot in the direction they are facing, potentially triggering a blood red sea of murder if that bullet happens to connect with another zombie. Other zombies will take off sprinting like shrieking kamikaze bombers, melt into a pool of acid that will do damage over time to passersby, or launch their heads off to a random spot on the map like mortar blasts of rotten brain matter. With any sort of chain reaction game there is an element of luck involved as sometimes the stars will align and a map will start with a configuration perfect for a high chain kill count. But in general it pays to watch for patterns and wait until you can visualize the beginning of a chain. From there you have to hope that a stray bullet fires at just the right trajectory to prolong the death by mass combustion, the sounds of gushy gore popping and splashing the pavement only amplifying the sick gratification of a successful combo.

    • Coming Back for More: The very nature of causing chain reactions has an addictive draw as you feel the urge to constantly try to best your previous one shot kill streak. OMG Zombies adds to the replay compulsion with a fairly standard medal scoring system which awards higher payouts of cash for every step up the podium. Clearing out an entire map isn’t necessary, but from what I can tell you need to kill somewhere around 55-60% to get a bronze medal and unlock the next stage. Increasing the kill percentage from there ups the medal color to silver and gold, and if you happen to score a 100% death rate you will receive a coveted platinum badge of honor. Replaying a stage “just one more time” simply to nudge the completion percentage a few points higher becomes an obsession of its own, but the monetary benefits of upgrading to a higher medal is equally rewarding as you then get to spend your hard-fought bounty on upgrades. Banking enough cash to add a couple extra bullets to your ammo belt is key, but it also pays to upgrade proficiency against the individual zombie types so that their bodily explosion increases in range or temporary post-death effects last longer. The addiction will only grow from there once you factor in the new Steam-powered achievements and online leaderboards.

Parting Thoughts: If you dig the zombie genre but want a break from the typical survival game or twin-stick/first-person shooter, this is a game you’re going to want to add to your Steam library. The game does have a story in the form of a digital graphic novel, supposedly with multiple endings, but its only real purpose seems to be that of an aesthetical tone setter. Overall there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on in terms of depth, but the simplest forms of gaming are often the most addictive, and OMG Zombies proves that point. It also proves that playing dominos with exploding zombies sure is a fun way to kill time.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!