#KillAllZombies Review

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Game Title: #KillAllZombies
Developer: SPL
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 78 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No

Shooters and zombies go together like bread and butter.  They were made for each other, and there are a lot of successful zombie shooting franchises and shooting games featuring zombies.  The House of the Dead.  The ongoing Zombie Nazis mode in the Call of Duty series.  Resident Evil 4-6.  The list goes on.  The PS Vita has even gotten that mobile zombie shooter, 2013: Infected Wars.  Zombies and shooters are always together.

Top-down zombie shooters are a thing as well.  Dead Nation is a great PlayStation zombie top-down shooter available on the Vita.  But the list is still growing.  Earlier this year, a zombie shooter was released across consoles and Steam called #KillAllZombies.  Until now, though, it was not available on handhelds.  Now it is.

Here is my review of the PS Vita version of #KillAllZombies

Story

Due to this game having no story, this section shall remain blank.

Gameplay

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#KillAllZombies is a top-down arcade shooter.  During every run of the game, you will be pitted against endless waves of the undead from all directions.  Your goal is to survive as long as possible by gathering nearby weapons and temporary perks to enhance your arsenal until you finally do fall to the grasp of the undead hordes.

In the game, there are basically 2 things to do.  There is the normal Campaign Mode which has you pitted against undead until you die (think of it like a Survival Mode), and there’s Defense Mode, where you have to defend a base with your arsenal and placed turrets.  It’s pretty simple to understand for a simple kind of game.

Now, this sounds simple but it actually has more depth than that.  Survival Mode can go from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on your skill level.  The idea here, though, is to rack up kills and unlock new waves of enemies.  The further you go, the more weapons you can unlock that you can start the game with.  At the beginning, you basically just have a pistol.  But, last 10 minutes in a wave and you may unlock a shotgun to keep from the get-go, or an Uzi for lasting even longer.  The better weapons you have unlocked, the easier it will be to last longer in battle.

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You also have constant Perks being thrown at you, which are also time-based.  Every time you get a perk, you have a choice of 4.  Some perks are great enhancements and some are not.  You may get options like a heavy weapon for a limited time or the ability to slow down time for everyone but yourself.  Or, you could get stuck with a perk that kills everything including you.  It’s really a gamble and entirely random on which ones you’re presented with.

Finally, you have obstacles.  Objects will constantly spawn around the map.  Some of these are simply there to hinder your movement.  Others, however, can be destroyed to give you free EXP to leveling up or health to recover from the last few times you got hit by enemies.

Once you have a good arsenal and reach a certain time point, the real challenge appears: Boss Battles.  Bosses are giant zombie monsters that have specific movement patterns that must be learned to be able to get past.  It is important to learn because it is oh-so frustrating to last 20 minutes in a single run with ease only to have the Boss show up and 1-shot you right out of the game.  Hordes are difficult at times, but Bosses are on a completely different level.

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Defense Mode has a bit of depth to it as well.  For every kill you land, you get money.  The more money you have, the more defense turrets you can set up.  The more turrets you have, the easier it is to defend your base.

Across these two game modes, there’s a good deal of difficulty.  For reasons I’ll explain in the presentation section, the PS Vita version is arguably the most difficult version of the game.  Getting used to hordes isn’t easy, and it only gets harder the further you get.  If you like a challenge, it’s definitely something you should look into.

One thing that is missing from the handheld release, however, is local multiplayer.  On Steam, there was a co-op mode built into the game.  The handheld release is missing this feature.

As far as length goes, that’s tough.  There isn’t really an “end” to the campaign or defense mode, so it’s all on you.  I spent about 3-4 hours on the game before I unlocked the Uzi, which is less than halfway through all unlockable weapons.  If you really get into unlocking everything, you could spend dozens of hours on the game.  Or, you could spend an hour or less.  It really depends on you.

Controls

This is a game that is not compatible with the PlayStation TV.  Yes, I know.  It’s just a checkbox in the dev kit so it’s not like it’s hard to implement.  But I do plan on letting the publishers know and see if a patch can be made since the game doesn’t use touch or motion controls.

Controlling the game is pretty simple.  This is a twin-stick shooter, so the Left Analog moves you and the Right Analog will fire your weapon.  The face buttons are used, mostly for accessing and activating perks.  Aside from that, there’s not much to do, control-wise.  As I said above, no motion or touch controls are present here.

Presentation

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Here is where things get a little strange.  As a top-down shooter, the game looks really nice.  Most of the models are made up of 2D renders and they all look crisp and clear.

However, any players of the console/PC version of the game will be wondering if they purchased the correct game.  The console version was isometric in camera angle and the renders were all 3D-ish.  The Vita version is completely top-down with 2D renders.  They look like completely different games even though they play exactly the same.

This is a very strange move, and arguably makes this version the most difficult.  The top-down nature of the handheld release gives you much less overall view of the map, meaning you won’t see enemies until they are far closer to you than you could see them in the console version.  This is good for people who like a challenge, but the entire change in the game is a very strange decision on the developers’ part.

Music remains the same.  The developers opted to have a sort of “Rock/Metal” theme to the game’s theme music.  For a zombie shooter, it really fits in well and keeps you interested as you gun down your enemies.  It helps the game keep from seeming too repetitive, especially when you are having to go through several different attempts when unlocking a weapon.

Performance is pretty darn good.  Frame-rate is steady and load times are nice and short.  I have no complaints.

Summary

#KillAllZombies is definitely a fun zombie shooter.  The main problems with the game is its lack of story, lack of co-op, and why the developers opted to make the Vita version look like so much of a downgrade and a completely different game altogether.  If you’re alright with the changes they made, it’s a fun little mindless shooter, but will not be what players of the console version are expecting. 

7/10

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