Saturday, January 26

Review: #KillAllZombies [Nintendo Switch eShop]

If you’re read a fair portion of my reviews you’ll probably know that I’m a pretty massive fan of arcade-style twin-stick shooters. Ever since the days of Robotron and Smash TV in the arcades I’ve loved the intensity they offer. To date the Switch has had some excellent games in the genre that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and some that haven’t been so thrilling. Unfortunately, though it has elements that are decent #KillAllZombies for the most part falls into the latter group, simply not doing enough to make it sustainably interesting.

Overall there’s not too much to know, though granted that’s typical of the genre in general. You have a fairly large space to work in, there are zombies that will meander in from all sides, you have a few base guns to choose from, and your goal is to stay alive for as long as you can. As you kill zombies and pick up bits of experience that are laying about you’ll gain access to a variety of perks that will do anything from giving you some sort of permanent upgrade to getting time-limited weapons or special abilities. There does happen to be quite a variety to these, with some even being surprisingly useful or silly, but for the most part it doesn’t radically break the mold either. Strategy does play a role as the levels wear on, and you’ll want to look out for dropping objects, and then be sure to blow up things like vehicles that appear. Their blast range is pretty big, and that can wipe out a sizeable mob of the undead, just be sure you’re not in the immediate area. There are some bosses you’ll get to as well, but while they’re a bit creative I’ve also found they don’t tend to be too bright and have even seen them get stuck at times.

When it comes to issues, quite a few come to mind. The first, and possibly most critical, is that there’s simply far too much of “more of the same” filler. A lack of enemy diversity, weapon variety, and outright speed all drag the experience down. You can briefly get a hold of better weapons but the majority of the time get used to using only a handful of ones that are pretty run-of-the-mill. Second, the way you take damage is pretty inconsistent and annoyingly unbalanced. The majority of the time I’ve ended up taking damage from being in the wrong proximity to an exploding vehicle (they’re nice for blowing up multiple zombies but their blast radius is dangerous) or a pounding boss attack and too often just one of those hits will cut through massive amounts of your health. You could go quite a while barely taking a hit and then get one-shot onto death’s door practically. It’s just out of balance in general and sometimes I’ve even struggled to understand what took away most of my health. Last, the pacing and general visuals are both a lackluster and muddy mess. There’s a weird sort of perpetual mild fog in the game’s look that’s hard to miss and in general terms the pacing of everything is a bit slow, making it more dull than some other very intense shooters on the system.

If you’ve burned through the other twin-stick shooters on the system #KillAllZombies is at least its own take and may prove entertaining for a short while. However, held up against the majority of titles that are either more intense, diverse, or creative this title really takes it on the chin hard. It’s not that it is without merit, but given the great competition already on the system it just fails to make a serious impression.

Score: 5

  • Killing zombies and weirdo bosses
  • Some of the perks you have access to are weird and force you to make tough decisions
  • Cool weapons, just you'll only have them briefly
  • Too much time is spent with dull generic weapons, taking out dull generic zombies
  • When you lose health it seems to be very quickly while taking a normal hit isn’t of much consequence, making it feel very inconsistent
  • The action is simply a bit sluggish and there’s an odd have over everything that is weird