World War Z should be awful. It's a movie-tie-in FPS that sees you blasting hordes of the undead. Even that description is usually enough to send shivers down the spine of the discerning iOS gamer.
And yet, when you actually sit down to play the game you'll find a tightly paced, cleverly designed shooter that occasionally manages to shock.
It's not perfect, and there are places when your frustration will overtake your fun, but if you're looking for a braindead way to waste a few hours World War Z does the job quite nicely.No Brad Pitt
The story starts just before the world is overrun by zombies, and revolves around a man trying to get back to his loved ones while everything around him goes to hell. Or gets eaten. Cue violence, exploration, and a bit of simple puzzling too.
The game divides its action up between different control schemes. When zombies attack, your feet get rooted to the ground, and you only control the direction in which your crosshair is pointing. It automatically fires when it rests over one of your assailants.
When you're wandering around the world, a tap on the floor sends you walking in that direction. Tapping on items of interest, which are usually highlighted, send you off to interact.
These two schemes are pretty much fine. You sometimes get stuck on the scenery when you're wandering around, but you're not in any jeopardy so it's not too much of a problem. Where things go wrong is the melee controls.Bland to bland combat
These take the form of Infinity Blade-style swipes, but the input and timing required is so indistinct you'll often have your face gnawed off by a reanimated corpse before you've managed to get a single hit in.
You're supposed to be able to push back the creatures and dodge their attacks, but these actions rarely work, leaving you ineffectually waving a melee weapon about while a single zombie clobbers you to death.
Where the delineation of the action wasn't too much of a cause for concern before, here you'll be screaming at your iOS or Android device, urging it to let you pull out the perfectly workable machine gun you have strapped to your back.
It's a shame, because the rest of the game works so nicely. The story drags you along at a fair old pace, and while the shooting is a little one-note, the speed at which the zombies close in on you can make for some frantic reloading scrambles.
Progression is controlled with simple puzzles that are never really enough to task the grey matter, and exploration is rewarded with XP that can be spent on new and more powerful weapons. Although apparently the game is set in a world where three blows from a sword aren't enough to dislodge a zombie's head.Not quite dead
There's fun to be had here, though, and while the melee sections are annoying they're not so frequent as to spoil the whole pudding. It's a decent looking game, too, and although it cuts corners here and there it makes for a pretty engrossing experience.
World War Z certainly isn't as bad as you might expect, and it's worth giving a go if you're a fan of mowing down zombies. Just prepare yourself for annoyance when the undead decide they want a fist-fight rather than a shoot-out.