Emulations of Zombie Infestations!

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Atom Zombie Smasher is a beautifully simple game from the small, Los Angeles-based independent studio Blendo Games.  I can’t deny I am quite an aficionado of indie games.  The chief reason being that I find the ingenuity in gameplay and style of smaller budget games far more entertaining than the same old tasting porridge delivered by the majority of the AAA industry.  Okay onward with the review!

I did start with the demo version of AZS, and my initial general impressions were quite positive.  So much so that after a few run-throughs of what the demo had to offer I felt perfectly justified in buying the full game.

The soundtrack works nicely with the feel of the game.  I’m no musical expert but I would be tempted to say it’s a nice mix of a rockabilly sound with the ominous threatening drumming music you’ll see in any given zombie film.  Combined with the aesthetic, such as the small cutscenes, artwork and interface, it creates a very unique and pleasing style for the game.

The gameplay is split into two sections.  In the first section you have a randomly generated world map, where at the beginning of each turn zed infections are spread around the map, making the situation more difficult to manage over time, and each infected area can vary in it’s level of severity.  There are also monthly conditions which influence how effectively you will be able to perform in each mission.

The speed and severity of infections can make choosing which area to tackle a tough decision.

The speed and severity of infections can make choosing which area to tackle a tough decision.

 

The second section is, of course, the missions themselves.  For each mission you need to try and save as many civilians as possible, represented by little yellow dots, from the oncoming hordes of zombies, represented by purple dots.  And if possible, to clear the infection before nightfall.  As you perform missions you accumulate more mercenary teams, randomly, to help you save more and more locations, until you have acquired each type (unless playing with one of the included mods, which I will cover further on).

The merc teams are assigned randomly for each mission, forcing you to adopt new strategies.

The merc teams are assigned randomly for each mission, forcing you to adopt new strategies.

 

In order to win the game you need to beat the zed side in the Victory Track, by reaching the end target of points before they do.  This is done by performing the missions (where multipliers for points are present in the more heavily infected zones), and controlling territories, with the points being tallied at the end of each turn.

Oh and also at the end of each mission you will be able to upgrade units when they have enough experience, which is nice!

Oh and also at the end of each mission you will be able to upgrade units when they have enough experience, which is nice!

 

On top of the vanilla game, there are a number of included mods you can choose to activate for a game.  Some of the available mods available include Triplets, which will allow you up to three of each type of merc, Permadeath, where you only get one attempt per mission and if it goes pear-shaped that’s it, as well as difficulty modifiers.  The combinations of these make each game more varied and interesting.

As I’d mentioned though there is a demo of Atom Zombie Smasher available on Steam, and it didn’t take much playing of it to persuade me to buy the game, so I fully recommend at least giving the demo a whirl!  It’s a brilliantly fun game based around a very simple idea, and no game will ever be exactly like another that you play.

Just an example of when things go pear-shaped!

Just an example of when things go pear-shaped!