Review: Zombie Toss

ZombieToss

This idea that zombies make every game better is ludicrous to me.  Yet time and time again, game developers make me eat my words.  Dead Nation‘s pure zombie action is fantastic.  Red Dead Redemption gets a dose of B-movie hilarity with Undead Nightmare.  Left 4 Dead made co-op zombie killing a blast.  But what happens when you mix the simple mechanics of Fruit Ninja with zombies?

Flying Wisdom Studios tackles such a concept with Zombie Toss for tablets and smartphones.  Instead of fruit, various zombie types appear across the screen to be sliced by various instruments of torture and mutilation via a swipe on the screen.  Zombie Toss builds on the simple swipe-to-cut mechanic by having the player survive waves of zombies in levels based in suburban and city zones.  In a slight nod to classic zombie movies, both suburban and city levels have locked day and night themes as well.  Each zone then is further broken down by introducing more and more waves of levels.  Completing the waves earns keys which (after earning enough) unlock additional areas.

Earning keys is done in two ways. The first is by simply completing a level.  Second, points are measured in the amount of meat that is chopped up by killing zombies.  Chop up enough meat to fill the grinder meter at the end of each level, and you will earn another key. When a key is earned, cash is also awarded.  Cash is then used to purchase upgraded weapons, bonus round weapons, and super attacks.  Another type of currency used in the game are gold teeth which can also be spent on the previously mentioned upgrades.

Getting back to the chopped meat concept for a second, I want to mention that the meat grinder meter is filled by performing combo slicing moves (slicing up 3 or more zombies at once) and can be multiplied by upgraded weapons.  The problem I have with this is that throughout most of the levels zombies aren’t tossed in an easily swiped pattern where three or more can be cut up at once.  Often times a set of three zombies appears at the same time as a toxic waste barrel shows up.  Hitting the barrel drops your health by a quarter.  Not slicing a zombie allows the zombie to attack, dropping your health by a quarter as a result.  Throw in zombies that (in their former lives were police officers) carry riot shields and can block a screen swipe if you approach from the wrong side, and the levels end faster than it takes for them to load.

I don’t mind a game that offers a challenge, but at least build up to the challenge.  Don’t throw toxic barrels, normal zombies, and riot shielded zombies all in the same wave on the second zone of the game.  That shit just isn’t fun.  Of course the game offers a solution (as is the norm with pretty much every handheld game these days) in the option to buy more gold teeth with real money.  So by spending additional money in the game, you can purchase health upgrades in addition to the aforementioned weapons and super attacks.  Sure the gold teeth don’t cost much ($2.99 for 40, $4.99 for 90, or $9.99 for 200, and the prices go up even higher from there), but I can find other games or items that I’d rather spend money on than paying my way to be able to play through further sections of the game.

I love the idea of Zombie Toss.  The mechanics work great and yet another developer has proven that the zombie gaming craze just won’t die.  But offering a game as free and then forcing a payment solution as a way to make the game playable is a bit frustrating.  One thing that is currently missing from the game, but is in the certification process of getting Apple’s seal of approval, is the inclusion of GameCenter functionality.  GameCenter leaderboards are always a great way to challenge friends with better scores and I can see where Zombie Toss could easily offer a friendly rivalry.  Fortunately the initial game is free so I can’t do anything more than suggest trying it, but keep in mind that latter levels are likely to require health boosts and better weapons which are made all too convenient through in-app purchases.

TryIt

Pros:
+ Fun concept of slicing up zombies (instead of fruit)
+ Lots of replay with combo multipliers through upgraded weapons

Cons:
– Purchasing upgrades is necessary almost from the start

Game Info:
Platform: iOS/Android
Publisher: G-Gee by GMO
Developer: Flying Wisdom Studios
Release Date: 10/17/2012
Genre: Action
Age Rating: 9+
Players: 1
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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About the Author

Tim has been playing video games for more than 20 years. He manages to find time to game in between raising three kids and working as a network administrator. Follow Tim on Twitter @freemantim.