“ Developer: Limbic Software, Inc. „
Zombies are great. They kept us entertained in Night of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead, took over London in 28 Days Later, and best of all shooting them isn't murder, because they are already dead.
Which is where Zombie Gunship comes in. Set in a world where zombies have taken hold of much of the country, you are required to climb into your gunship. The aim is simple: you must fly around and protect your base from the hordes of the undead wandering around and offer air support for fleeing refugees so that they can reach the safety of your base. If zombies get into your base, then it's game over.
The gameplay might be simple, but it is also appealing. It's one of those titles that's instantly fun to play, but reveals slightly deeper levels of gameplay as you progress. Shooting zombies and watching them burst in a brief shower of black blood is, of course, fun, but you soon learn that you need to take a more strategic view. It's all too easy to get carried away massacring one group of zombies only to suddenly realise that another group is closing in on your bunker. As such, you need to switch constantly between Gun mode (which allows you to fire) and View mode (which provides a wider perspective of the terrain, allowing you to spot where the zombies are) and prioritise your targets.
Gameplay at times becomes very frantic. As the zombies close in on your base, they pose a greater threat and need dealing with straight away. Even so, you still need to be careful and can't just blast away gung-ho. Simply keeping your finger on the fire button is a no-no, as this will cause your gun to overheat, giving the remaining zombies a free run to your base. Instead, you have to fire in short bursts, making each round of ammunition count. As increasing numbers of zombies start to attack, this leads to a real sense of panic settling in, making for a brilliantly atmospheric game.
Graphics are relatively dull-looking, but hugely atmospheric. Pretty much everything is rendered in a series of greys or browns. This might sound boring, but actually works extremely well within the context of the game. If you've ever seen one of those Police Camera Action type clips of a police helicopter following, then you'll know what to expect. It really adds to the bleak, apocalyptic feel of the game and is ideally suited to the title.
Sound is similarly minimalist but effective. The rat-a-tat-tat of you gun is good, whilst other in-game sound is limited to the odd bit of speech from your pilot or base colleagues. It might not feature the full orchestral score or surround-sound ambient effects that we've become used to in modern games, but that's just as well. The minimalist effects perfectly complement the gameplay and the graphics, reinforcing the sense of a grim struggle for survival.
The zombies themselves can just occasionally be a little tricky to spot. They are all black and sometimes disappear against the greys and shadows of the terrain. You do quickly get used to spotting them however, so this is not a major issue and simply adds to the challenge. Although small, the zombies are well animated and have quite a lot of character. Unlike many other zombies, these appear to have a few surviving brain cells. If there are survivors nearby, they will head towards them to try; if you shoot at them and miss, they will try to run away, creating panic in the other zombies around them. This makes them a little harder to kill, as well as giving them a more realistic sense of basic intelligence.
The controls are simple and straightforward. You use one finger to swipe in the direction you want to head and another to press the fire button to fire. This makes the game very easy for everyone to pick up and play as it only needs you to remember two main sets on controls. The controls are very responsive, particularly the gun which feels like it's on a hair trigger. One tap sends lead death heading zombie-wards!
A small cross-hair helps you line up your target and this briefly grows bigger when a zombie is bang in your sights allowing you to time your shots carefully (in order to preserve your precious gun health). Even then, there's a more strategic element, as you need to factor in distance (where you are shooting is not where the zombie will be by the time the bullet reaches it). It can take a little while to get used to this, but once you do, Zombie Gunship is a rewarding game to play
It's fair to say that Zombie Gunship is probably not a game you will spend hours playing. The gameplay is very similar from level to level, mainly varying in the size of the zombie hordes and the amount you have to kill. It's a game that becomes repetitive very quickly, and you're unlikely to want to play it in anything more than short bursts.
That said, it has plenty of longer term appeal. It's an easy title to just pick up and play and grab a quick game of her and there. It's also a great stress reliever. If you've had a bad day at work, there's nothing better than taking to the skies in your gunship and mowing down dozens of zombies (pretending they are the people who annoyed you during the day is optional!).
Costing just 69p (with optional in-app purchases also available), this is a simple but atmospheric game that I can definitely recommend for short-burst gameplay.
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