Worried about infestations of Zombie hordes? ‘Round my digs, it’s easy to mistake roving bands of 13-year-old girls for zombies – they eat everything in sight (well…so far my brain is intact), moan loudly (although I suspect that’s their music, probably some banshee they refer to as “Lady GooGoo” or something) and go through clothing like the undead. (Take my clothing bill. Please.) But now, from the fine folks that brought you Contract Killer, the game I’ve found to be the best sniper simulation on the iOS platform, comes Contract Killer Zombies. Zombiephobic Shooters of the World Unite!
Preparing for the Zombiepocalpyse on your iPhone or iPad requires no more effort than to hook up to a WiFi connection and download the game from the iTunes store. Did I mention it’s free? Well, it’s a free download. But just as in real life, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In the Zombified version of Contract Killer, Glu has taken the same game engine and game structure, and applied a veneer of Zombie action. Being a newer game, CK Zombies has quite a few improvements over CK “Classic” – ones which I hope will soon find their way into the earlier title.
In CK Zombies, you take on the persona of Shooter, a wheelchair-bound, grizzled veteran who wants to shoot every
sacred cow zombie he sees. In the expository dialog/backstory we hear at launch, we learn that Shooter has rescued a way-less-than-helpless damsel by the name of Evelyn, who was busy being attacked by zombies. They form an unofficial partnership (doesn’t hurt that Evelyn is one hot little anime number) and go on missions to find supplies, rescue survivors, and just plain survive the zombie hordes.
Like it’s earlier incarnation as a sniper game, you have a weapon (in this case a .44 revolver) and a secondary weapon (at first, a fully auto machine gun, but you’re forced to buy a shotgun soon thereafter). And then there are the zombies. Fat ones. Skinny ones. Male ones. Female ones. Ones that pop up from manhole covers. Ones that shuffle. Ones that jog/trot. All thirsty for Evelyn’s brains.
As in Contract Killer “Classic” headshots are a certain kill. Body shots, not so much. It’s also possible to score a “multikill” (1 round/multiple targets). Fortunately, you can blow a good-sized hole in a mutant zombie attacking your gal pal Evelyn, without worrying about collateral damage. There are also barrels with some kind of explosive substance in them that you can shoot to blow up whatever’s nearby (presumably zombies).
Ultimately, the game is all about survival, for which you need better weapons. Like in the CK world, weapons can be earned through game play – a somewhat time-consuming process, or they can be bought for cash, via in-store purchases. The first few levels lull you into a false sense of having gotten something for nothing. Pass Level 4, however, and you’ll find the missions “suggest” a weapon, typically one you don’t own. In fairness, this is how they make their daily bread, and you can opt to play without buying the weapons that require cash. Clearly, Glu is counting on people with penchant for purchasing what they need immediately, deferred gratification be damned.
Compared to CK Classic, CK Zombies seems to move at a somewhat faster pace (at least so far) because they’ve dropped the idea that you use up 5 units of energy with every mission. That’s both good and bad. It’s great, actually, if you want to play marathon sessions of shoot the zombie. It’s bad, if you were relying on running out of energy in lieu of impulse control and discipline.
Overall, I’d bet Contract Killer Zombies is going to be a big hit for Glu, and given the current fascination with all things zombie, very likely a bigger hit than the original game. The game is well-thought out, fairly seamless, and fun to play. My only nit to pick is that, at no time, do we hear the zombies say “Brains!” But there’s always hope for an upgrade.
Platforms: iPhone, Android, iPad (special free HD version available)
Price: FREE (for the basic game)
Customization: Lots of weapons available, with more unlocked as you conquer levels.
Fun Factor: High
Overall Rating: ***** (5 out of 5, despite the absence of talking zombies)