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All Zombies Must Die!
Score: 79%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: DoubleSix Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Local)
Genre: Arcade/ Action/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:
When I first picked up All Zombies Must Die!, I had the distinct feeling that I had already played and reviewed this game. After a few gameplay sessions, it hit me, the similarities between All Zombies Must Die! and another PSN title, Burn Zombie Burn! were too many to be ignored. Well, the reason for that is simple, DoubleSix Games developed both titles, and while All Zombies Must Die! isn't touted as a sequel (spiritual or otherwise) to the 2009 game, it's obvious that the older game was the basis for this title and many of the issues found in it were cleaned up and improved upon this time around.

All Zombies Must Die! has a fun, over-the-top look to it that helps to keep the game on the comedic side of the zombie catastrophe. Not only are the characters a bit too stereotypical or outrageous to be taken seriously, but everything from the dialogue to the zombies themselves make for a very lighthearted game. Where other games would have overly decomposed former-humans slowly creeping themselves to a very gory end when you finally use your various weapons against them, AZMD! tones down the gruesomeness a bit and makes the subject far easier to be accepted by a wider audience.

All Zombies Must Die!'s audio is okay and gets the job done, but neither the music nor the sound effects are going to be all that memorable once you've walked away from the game.

All Zombies Must Die! takes you and up to three friends through a world in the first stages of a Zombie Apocalypse. The undead have risen and they are destroying the town of Deadhill. Your characters consist of teenager Jack, his ex-girlfriend Rachael, the local scientist Brian, and a Rastafarian alien named Luxo.

While the game could have just been a basic top-down twin-stick shooter, it adds a few interesting twists into the mix like quests and item crafting and, with this slight change to the formula, All Zombies Must Die! seems to add a bit more purpose to the basic run-and-gun zombie game. Levels start off fairly basic with your quests involving taking out a certain number of enemies before being allowed to leave an area, but the game seems to ramp up nicely and eventually gives you a wide range of tasks to perform before letting you carry on.

While the RPG elements do a lot to distinguish AZMD! from Burn Zombie Burn!, the other crucial element is multiplayer. Where the older game gave you up to two players, All Zombies Must Die! can have four friends taking down the walking dead at the same time. Unfortunately, it's all local play and not online, so it seems like one of the features that could have really made All Zombies Must Die! shine only helps to push it just above the other similar-games out there.

All Zombies Must Die! is hard, plain and simple. The game starts off easy to manage, but it isn't long before the difficulty ramps up and you find yourself overrun by undead mobs that you can't hope to get past.

There seem to be a few factors involved in making All Zombies Must Die! such a tough game. One is the fact that a lot of the weapons you will find just don't feel as effective as they should be. Sure, the close-range melee weapons will knock out some enemies that are up close and personal, but as anyone who has seen anything zombie-related can tell you, your best bet is to not let them get that close. If they are close enough to be hit by a baseball bat, then you might as well lay down and get reanimated. So naturally, you want to stick to the long-ranged weapons, but many of these just don't seem to have the power or precision you would expect, so you will really need to choose your weapons wisely.

The other aspect that really shifts the difficulty of the game is the fact that zombies seem to be able to spawn anywhere and in any amount, well, anywhere just off screen at least. There were plenty of times when I would feel like I had cleared out an area on the way to some new weapon or something for my current quest, only to have enemies come from that side of the screen for no reason. As a result, you need to keep attacking the zombies in order to keep the horde from getting even the slightest foothold near you, else you will easily get overrun.

Game Mechanics:
For those not familiar with the twin-stick shooter style, All Zombies Must Die! might feel a little awkward at first, but even those new to the control scheme won't take long to get used to it. With twin-sticks, you move your character around with one analog stick and you aim your weapon with the other. A co-worker of mine aptly compared this style to driving and shooting a tank. While the tank can move in any direction to get away from or approach enemies, there is nothing about the tank's orientation that says where the gun turret can shoot. It's ability to spin in any direction to fire means that it, more or less, doesn't have a blind-spot. Of course, tanks aren't that fast, and giving a human character this ability gives them a lot of power and that's one of the reasons why a game like All Zombies Must Die! throws huge numbers of enemies at your character as a way to balance out the gameplay some.

All Zombies Must Die! has enough interesting elements to make anyone who has played similar twin-stick zombie shooters take notice. While the game still has some flaws that make it a bit too difficult for my liking, it is still a fun experience and the added RPG elements makes it at least one notch above Burn Zombie Burn!.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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