As every Discworld fan knows, the more exclamation marks, the more insane the person saying them, with five being a ‘sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head’.
Zombies!!! isn’t completely insane, though its excessive usage of grammar’s most erratically used punctuation does hint at how relatively mad it is compared to others that deal with the rotting subject of the living dead.
Firstly, this isn’t a twin-stick shooter. I know, it’s mad, but apparently not all zombie apocalypses are solved by running randomly about, shooting from the hip.
Instead, Zombies!!! takes the odd form of a turn-based boardgame - like a cross between the excellent Carcassonne and Space Hulk - in which up to five players on one handset must work together in order to either destroy a predetermined number of zombies(!!!), or reach the rescue zone and escape.
Each turn, the players pick a random tile, representing the streets of the unfortunate town, and place it on the board so that it connects with an existing space.
These tiles are then populated by a pre-determined number of zombies, bullets, and hearts (lives) depending on which you draw, with the bigger buildings like police stations and sports stores having more of each than a standard street.
Once placed it’s down to business in traditional boardgaming fashion - rolling dice for movement, rolling dice for combat, and playing cards to either help yourself or hinder opponents.
These cards are themed in typical Zombie film fashion, so expect to draw ‘The keys are still in it!’ with a picture of someone busting into a parked car for extra movement, and the killer ‘I found a shotgun!’ for when the fight gets messy
Combat is simply a case of moving onto a square occupied by a zombie and rolling more than ‘4’ on the dice, which is followed by a neat little animation of your piece blasting the zombie away.
Should luck desert you in your time of need, then there’s the chance to dip into your limited supply of bullets (adding +1 to the dice roll per usage) or lives (re-rolls). Lose all your lives, though, and it's back to the starting square with half your zombie kills gone.
Got red on you
Zombies!!!, much like the two boardgames previously mentioned, ends up turning into quite a vicious little game once the bullets start rolling in, with each player manically using cards against others, discarding useless ones, and deliberately winding the streets round so that the helipad (when it arrives) is nowhere near the others.
It looks great, too, with a fully animated 3D board, film-grain, and combat animations helping to set the scene perfectly and heighten the tension during the solo Survival Horror mode nicely.
These graphics come at a cost though - there’s absolutely no way to skip the AI players’ turns, making a five player game crawl along like the living dead themselves as you sit through the animations.
There’s also, inexplicably, no online multiplayer, despite the game being turn-based and crying out for human opposition due to the lack of difficulty modes for the AI players. Fans of the original boardgame will also be disappointed to note that this version feature none of the expansion packs’ content, either.
Despite these missing features and options, Zombies!!!’s original application of boardgaming and zombie-slaying makes for a crazy, but highly enjoyable, slice of turn-based fun.
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