Review – Age Of Zombies

Age Of Zombies
Developer: Halfbrick
Publisher: Halfbrick
Platform: iOS
Genre: Shoot ’em up
Price: £1.79/ $2.99
Release Date: Out now

For those unfamiliar with Halfbrick studio‘s work, shame on you. The Australian based company has developed a vast amount of titles for multiple platforms, their more recent success story being the infamous ”Fruit Ninja” for iOS devices. Another iOS gem that has received countless praise for is their sidescroller run ‘n’ gunner; Monster Dash. The company’s now back with the continuing adventure of Barry Steakfries, the hero of Monster Dash. Can Barry keep the undead at bay and save history?

The man responsible for Barry’s lost breath after his endless run-athon, Professor Brains, has unleashed countless zombies upon the world, sending them through time wreaking havoc via his new time machine. As you may be able to tell, this plot is quite frankly bonkers with hilarious dialogue thrown in. So, it’s up to Barry to grab weapons, avoid the flesh munching freaks while blasting them away in this fast paced twin stick shooter.
Age Of Zombies starts off with a very short tutorial which those familiar with twin stick shooters will find as common knowledge. On the screen are two virtual pads; the left is used to navigate Barry around the map, the right is used to shoot. Above the right stick is a small button used for throwing grenades. When you start a new life, you are given five of these beauties which can come in extremely handy when you’re cornered.

The game starts off relatively slow with very little to shoot at. That is until a ”badass zombie T-Rex” leaps out of a portal. This zombie T-Rex acts as the first boss of the game, of which there are five. These bosses will kick your butt into the next century. One boss in particular took over three lives in the gap of twenty seconds.

These five bosses are found at the end of a third stage in each area, totalling up to about fifteen levels. Throughout the course of the adventure, you’ll be visiting The Pre-Historic Age, The 1930’s, Ancient Egypt, Feudal Japan, and finally, The Future. Each point in time, you will be pitted against a cosmetically different type of zombie. From cavemen and ninja’s, to mummies and gangsters.The maps vary in not only size, but style. Throughout the game, you’ll explore a city, a desert littered with pyramids, etcetera. These places don’t add much to proceedings, but it’s always nice as a change of pace. In each area, you will meet with a few quirky, but admittedly forgettable NPC’s with which Barry will exchange a few lines of dialogue and plot before leaving you to your business, and business is good.

Barry is not limited to his arsenal of his pistol and five grenades each life on his journey. Barry can also grab power-ups including new weapons, such as the shotgun, a rifle, a minigun and many more. Other items Barry has access to are a rocket launcher [this replaces the grenades and is limited to very few shots], a replenishment of said grenades, a shield, and an extra life.

Though, this title is not without it’s flaws. When I was first put against the final boss, he was invisible. All I saw was his shadow. Around half way through the bout, he suddenly appeared. To make sure this was actually a bug, and not programmed into the game’s code, I re-played the final battle, where, sure enough, he was visible the entire fight.
Another thing I had a problem with is very slight slow down when over twenty zombies were present on screen. Because I was playing this on an essentially full iPod Touch, and not an iPhone 4 with more processing power behind it, I can’t imagine this problem is present with everyone.

Finally, the most crucial problem I have with the title, was the lack of a health bar. In previous Halfbrick iOS games, there has always been three life indicators clearly shown. In Age Of Zombies, you have no other warning than a red flash when you’re hit. Your health slowly regenerates if you avoid attack for long enough, but a bar would have been greatly appreciated. I find this a tad annoying when I’m in a tight pinch.

After completing the game, there’s always a Survival mode which is a fairly standard affair in which you must see how many waves you can last before you have a zombie chewing on your head.

In conclusion, a fine, beautiful shoot ’em up with a great sense of humour, but its less than sufficient length and poor health system prevent me from recommending it to anyone but fans of the genre.


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