We all have our zombie plans. Mine is to become a zombie early and campaign for undead rights. Maybe yours is to drive to the Arctic where decaying bodies will freeze? Well, good. Less human interference for me.
Although we’ll owe a lot to games when Z-Day finally comes, what with the hobby's apparent fascination with the living dead, none of our plans is likely to involve playing Aftermath XHD. It’d be far too distracting.
Aftermath XHD could loosely be called a twin-stick zombie shooter. The design takes inspiration from both dual-stick arcade shmups and more conventional third-person action games.
As is often the case in a zombie apocalypse, you're dumped into the fray as a lone survivor. The undead enemies are the sprinting hordes of Left 4 Dead rather than the shambling drunkards of Resident Evil, and the goal is very Left 4 Dead, with the aim generally being to reach a safepoint or survive for a set amount of time.
The trick here is that you can only shoot zombies when you have your flashlight trained on them. The shooting itself is automatic, so really your only job is to keep moving and keep enemies in sight – a seemingly easy task made much more strenuous by the darkness around you.
Occasional flashes of lightning illuminate your surroundings, acting not just as a spooky visual effect but also a means of briefly determining how many of the bitey blighters you’re up against. This becomes more challenging later in the game as more dangerous variants of zombie are added.
Over dead quick
It’s as good looking and atmospheric as they get on Xperia Play, often requiring steady-paced pathfinding as well as quick reflexes.
The D-pad controls movement fairly adequately, allowing you to sprint for a short amount of time when holding down the L trigger. Aiming is a little more troublesome. The right touchpad can be slow and unresponsive at times, while increasing the sensitivity makes it a little too stroppy for use.
Luckily, the Square and Circle buttons act as a surprisingly good substitute, turning you left or right when held. This also leaves your thumb close to the ever-useful X button, which lobs powerful grenades.
The trouble is that the game is far too short, with only 11 standard levels and not much replay value apart from getting to shoot some more. There's a Survival mode, unlocked when you reach the end, but even this expires after you’ve taken advantage of the all the weapons and can’t seem to beat your own record.
Not that this short life expectancy ruins the game. Aftermath XHD still offers a darker and tenser alternative to arcadey zombie shooters like Age of Zombies, and if you've already blasted your way through those then this should be your next undead slaughter sim.