Game Reviews

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar off
Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte

Zombies are so formidable because just when you think they're out for the count they lurch back to life and sink their teeth into you.

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte has its own resurrection story, having transformed from a never-released Wii action game to the iOS casual zombie splatterfest we have before us now.

In this delightfully silly take on the oversubscribed zombie genre, a whole zoo has been ravaged by the zombie virus, leaving ghoulish monkeys and undead elephants in its wake.

Axe to grind

It's up to you, as a plucky Mexican kid with a literal axe to grind, to protect the fleeing healthy animals and keep the undead variety at bay.

While it might look a lot like another Plants vs Zombies clone, Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte plays quite differently to PopCap's classic. Rather than lay down static automated defences, your initial means of attack is a far more direct throwing axe.

This can be thrown incredibly accurately by drawing a flight path for it. These paths can be as intricate as you like, but there are a couple of well-judged limitations to consider.

For one thing, you can only throw one axe at a time, so you won't be able to react to emerging threats if your weapon is flying laps of the level. For another, the axe (or whatever weapon you replace it with through the game's excellent shop) moves at a certain speed, so you need to lead your shambling targets if you're to score a direct hit.

It's an incredibly fun system that's genuinely tricky to master - particularly when the enemy swarms grow more intense, requiring you to be deadly-efficient with your throwing paths.

Cutting put down

The targets themselves also inform your weapon usage. Each zombie animal has its own unique attributes, whether it's the indestructible-from-the-front rhino or the attack-dodging penguin.

You can always damage each of the enemies with any weapon, but certain types are more effective against certain animals. This means that if you're struggling on a specific level you can always purchase a new weapon to break the cycle of failure.

Indeed, you'll need to vary your armoury - which soon grows to include Plants vs Zombies-style fixed defences - in order to secure each of the five level achievements.

In a refreshing departure from the normal three-star rating, Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte has a five-star completion rating - and each star is tied directly to a specific feat. This varies from finishing a level without letting a zombie through to scoring a certain number of kills with a specific weapon, and on to more outlandish tasks.

These are effective because they vary the gameplay nicely without being overly restrictive - you don't have to ace every last level to progress.

Well stitched together

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte combines a number of familiar elements, including Plants vs Zombies's setup, Flight Control's line-drawing control system, and even a little of Pro Zombie Soccer's basic premise.

Yet it manages to feel surprisingly fresh nonetheless. Much of that is down to its tactile, finely judged control system and the way it's been carefully integrated into the game's rule-set.

It also benefits from a vibrant, schlock-humour art style and reward and upgrade system that genuinely encourages you to play rather than simply pay.

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte might have returned from the dead, but it smells surprisingly fresh considering.

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte borrows from the best and adds its own fresh twists to the castle defence sub-genre, including a delightfully tactile control system