Tuesday, February 19

Review: Zombie Night Terror [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Bless indie devs, it’s always interesting to see what variations you’ll find in the eShop because of them. Niche genres are always nice to see represented but for me the fun comes when you see what at least seem to be remixes of games from the past in some form. One classic puzzle game variant I used to enjoy that seems to have been lost over the years is Lemmings. While Zombie Night Terror may not have been intent on reviving the style of play in that series, and it certainly isn’t a 1-to-1 comparison, the mechanics of utilizing different special zombie types to break through for or divert your horde brings back memories of that series for me.

With a pretty cool black and white (oh, and plenty of red) presentation, things start out pretty simply, with you merely infecting people to get the zombie party started. As you meet the objectives of each stage and move on to the next you’ll tend to acquire new zombie variants that you’ll have the power to different minions of yours. Whether this is just for the purpose of setting one up as a blocker to control the flow of shamblers, making them explode to knock out obstacles, or some other much more crazy variants there’s always a strategic reason driving you to see the problem and figure out how best to use what abilities you have to get at least some portion of your horde to the next checkpoint.

One thing to keep in mind that I didn’t think was well-explained is that these abilities consume a gauge and there are times when you’ll need to simply sacrifice some of your horde to build it up so you can proceed. You’ll also need to be mindful of the layout of some levels and carefully manage your horde to get the best results. It usually makes sense in the end but as a whole not everything you need to do tends to be very clear or well-explained so there may be some stumbles in places as you discover game nuances as you go and if you’re not observant some things may even be confusing or lost on you.

If you think this all sounds pretty good, and it can be fun, that isn’t to say everything is perfect. The controls, especially in docked mode, take some getting used to and are a bit clumsy honestly. You’ll be able to work them out but overall the interface definitely has a “made for a PC with a mouse” feel. If you play it in handheld mode with the touchscreen it’s all a lot more sensible and easy to control but given the high volume of black on the screen I found I needed to find a somewhat darker place to play it in, sunlight really made it a struggle to see things well. A small note but worth keeping in mind.

While not everything in the game absolutely works as well as I’d like Zombie Night Terror has a certain unique charm to it that I enjoyed. While some of that may be an old school love for the Lemmings series, which this hardly copies but does have similarities with, I also appreciate the fact that there’s nothing quite like it on the platform. Throw in some B-movie charm and random silliness and it’s a unique puzzling experience if you are willing to give it a try.

Score: 7

  • A pretty unique puzzling variant reminiscent of the classic Lemmings series in some ways
  • Some challenging levels that will put your planning an execution to the test
  • Plenty of silliness and pixelated gore

  • The controls can be aggravating in docked mode and aren’t as well-implemented as I’d like
  • Managing your power gauge, especially when combined with the somewhat wonky controls, can be aggravating when you accidentally waste an enhancement
  • It can be annoying when you understand how to get through a spot in a level but then struggle more than you should need to due to control and execution issues, often making you then start a level all over again