Game Reviews

Zombie Attack! Second Wave

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Zombie Attack! Second Wave

Of all the generic names you could give a mobile title, Zombie Attack! Second Wave must be up in the top ten. Even on WP7 - a platform that hasn’t yet celebrated its first birthday - it looks decidedly uninspiring next to all the other zombie-related games on Live and the Indie channel.

This choice of title is made all the more curious by the gameplay of Zombie Attack! Second Wave, which falls into anything but the standard tower defence template of the billion other zombie games out there.

Yes, there are towers, and they defend a location, but - for better and worse - IUGO has torn out the rest of the TD genre rulebook and pasted in its own pages instead.

Money for old braains

For a start, you’re not some omnipotent being with the ability to conjure towers into existence using space money hoovered up from the corpses of slain foes.

Instead, you directly play a 'survivor' (presumably of the terrible Zombie Apocalypse), dashing around the map with your machete, getting beaten up by zombies, and conjuring towers into existence with space money hoovered up from the corpses of slain foes.

These towers vary range from your standard, upgradable cannons to the more exotic and original ‘decoys’ (models of the survivor, packed with explosives) and massive spinning blades.

Casting of the dead

While most tower defence games call for the tried and tested technique of funnelling enemies through the patented Corridor of Death, Zombie Attack! Second Wave is intriguing in that enemies will also aim for the survivor and the decoys, and if their heads get lopped off by passing blades they run around in circles like lunatics.

It’s great fun watching the various limbs get shot off as you madly dash to another turret to upgrade it, or get stuck in and finish off a wounded zombie dog with some good old fashioned hacking - especially as the graphics are detailed and lively enough to keep things clear and visceral.

The range of zombies you’re up against is also admirable, with each possessing its own methods of attack and weaknesses. The zombie hound, for instance pursues the survivor without mercy (unless its head gets chopped off), whereas the slow, crawling fat blob of a zombie focuses solely on the base.

This chaotic mish-mash of enemies and targets may be original, but it’s also Zombie Attack! Second Wave’s undoing.

Will work for braains

There’s never a sense of tactics or strategy about the game thanks to the slightly random nature of the dismemberment and the unfocused nature of the zombies’ attacks on the base.

Because of this, it’s not uncommon for the game to descend into a pastiche of the genre, with zombies mindlessly (as they do) running around in circles near their spawn, ignoring your base (despite standing right next to it), and generally being fairly useless.

Zombie Attack! Second Wave is an interesting experiment, and one that’s initially a breath of fresh air for the tired genre, but it doesn’t deliver quite the same depth as many of its more generic rivals.

Zombie Attack! Second Wave

Zombie Attack! Second Wave is a breath of fresh air to the tower defence genre, but this originality comes at the expense of strategy and planning
Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).