Shaun Of The Dead
| Shaun of the Dead

You, in a drinking den, facing dozens of vacant-eyed zombies lurching towards you, arms outstretched, wanting your blood – it's a great idea for a shoot-em-up.

But enough about Yates' Wine Bar: The Game, hopefully someone will sign it up soon. In the meantime, there's Shaun Of The Dead, a mobile title based on the cult Brit zom-rom-com.

Rather than try to follow the entire plot of the film (never a good idea for movie games), Shaun Of The Dead's creator Ojom has opted instead to focus on the key battle scene in The Winchester pub. Zombies pop out from behind and in front of the bar, and your job is to shoot them or, when your bullets run out, have at 'em with a cricket bat.

Three friends' photos at the bottom of the screen represent your 'lives'. Delay too long in your zombie-killing and it's game over.

Gameplay-wise, the developers have clearly been influenced by the classic arcade game (and subsequent console conversion) House Of The Dead, which had you shooting zombies with an arcade gun. Obviously that exact mechanic would be silly on mobile, so here the screen is divided into six 'zones', corresponding to the '7', '8', '9', '1', '2' and '3' keys on your phone.

To shoot at or batter a zombie in a zone, you simply hit the corresponding key. The bar stretches across more than one screen, so you can also scroll back and forth using the '4' and '6' keys.

It's a simple control method, and it makes effective use of the phone (we've seen the same idea used before, in a game called Spy Shootout that came out a couple of years back). It's also good for one-handed play, which is always handy for a mobile game.

Finally, there's a few power-ups to collect. These come in the form of vinyl LPs with which to replenish your weapons, and beer glasses for bonus points (we assume they're empty, otherwise heaven knows how your aim would deteriorate after, ooh, ten or so).

And that is basically that. So was it worth the bother of reanimating all those zombies?

Barely. Unfortunately, just as a Friday night in the pub is fun but every night is a problem, Shaun Of The Dead is ultimately uninspiring.

The game can be summarised as scroll, shoot-shoot-shoot, scroll again and repeat. Many times. But probably not too many.

While the developer has made a laudable attempt to not just produce another movie spin-off, Shaun Of The Dead boils down to repetitive button-mashing. And while there are three difficulty levels, there's simply not enough variety to keep you playing once you've completed the game.

Which doesn't take much time at all. So unlike your opponents in the game, you won't be resurrecting Shaun Of The Dead any time soon.

Shaun Of The Dead

Some well-intentioned design ideas, but this game is (un)dead on arrival
Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)