Game Reviews

Rock Zombie

Star onStar onStar offStar offStar off
Rock Zombie

Rock Zombie is a side-on old-school button-masher, where you inch your way through typical videogame locations (graveyards; grimy streets; an abandoned hospital), beating the tar out of generic videogame nasties (zombies and their equally hungry associates), while hammering the screen like a maniac.

The twist, such that it is, revolves around the heroes of the hour being three women who are in a rock band and also just happen to be witches.

Therefore, rather than punching zombies in the face, they attack with inexplicably and ludicrously durable guitars.

Each dispatched foe builds a 'magic thunder' meter. Once that fills up a bit, shake your device and the punky witch unleashes a spell-based special move that takes out several undead at once.

Bargain basement

From the off, it's hard to tell where Rock Zombie is pitched. There's a part of it that's clearly shooting for epic, at least in a TV-show Buffy kind of way.

There are frantic comic-book cut-scenes before every level, and abrupt changes of viewpoint as the camera shifts.

It's aiming for cinematic, but mostly comes across as annoying, especially when your viewpoint is changed and a bunch of zombies, now arriving from an entirely different direction, end up taking chunks out of your health bar.

For the most part, though, Rock Zombie feels like the gaming equivalent of those DVDs you see lurking in a plastic bin at a petrol station, of suspiciously low price and dubious quality.

Aside from the daft premise, it all feels rough, trashy, and yet somehow overblown.

The soundtrack is all bombastic rock, and the witches are equipped with skin-tight clothes, pneumatic breasts, and vacant expression. Along with the aforementioned indestructible guitar.


Although it never manages to be scary, Rock Zombie is at least sometimes funny. Frequently, zombies run on to the screen and then abruptly slow to standard zombie pace, like they're extras on a film who were having a crafty cigarette break and got yelled at by a producer to get on set.

The comic-book scenes are written in a manner that feels more like a spoof than a horror.

But more often, glitches and issues irk. The characters frequently fuzz up, their textures breaking down to the point the hero looks like one of the undead - a bug the developer says is new to iOS 8.1 and will be fixed in an update.

What will be tougher to sort is the unrelenting nature of the battle itself. For a game about zombie armageddon, there's precious little excitement.

Instead, it's an ongoing slog akin to a zombie's trudge, with you methodically kicking zombie butt before being hurried on to new area where you kick yet more zombie butt.

Even fans of old-school brawlers like Golden Axe (which this game somewhat echoes) will be disappointed by the lack of variety on offer, both in attack moves and also the enemies you face.

Dead to us

There are a few times when you get brief respite from the toil of repeatedly smacking zombies with your instrument: Rock Zombie offers two driving sections and a handful of boss battles.

But the former sections are twitchy, jerky and overly long, and compare poorly to Zombie Highway 2. And while there's a sense of ambition in the bosses, the fights themselves are lacklustre, too easy, and anti-climactic.

During review, a boss at the halfway point gave up entirely, deciding to freeze solid and not fight, forcing our hero to tiresomely battle infinite zombies until the end of time.

This was rectified with a quick .plist hack (and is another bug due to be fixed in an update), but it was hard to not think of it as summing up the entire game.

Rock Zombie

Despite its shortcomings, not so much a bad game as just a boring (and buggy) one that lacks bite