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I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1 (Xbox 360) artwork

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!!1 (Xbox 360) review

"If you’re one of the few still left out in the dark, I can guarantee you’re all the poorer for it."

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1NIT!!1 immediately introduces me to a double-edged blade -- it plays off my love of slaughtering the undead as well as my never-ending hatred of l33t. So it’s just as well I’m awesome enough to never judge a book by its cover because, otherwise, I may have been turned away from a fantastic dual-stick shooter and a hilarious parody of the XBOX Live Indie scene.

Viewed from the top down, Z0MBIES allows up to four local players to attempt to survive what initially appears to be the typical zombie apocalypse. Your sturdy but unremarkable starting machinegun is competent enough to see off the initial wave of lumbering zombies as they shuffle towards you. Shooting them leaves a spurt of blood, the possibility of a weapon power-up and a dozen new zombies to replace the one you just mowed down. There’s bulkier zombies that come along, ones that take more punishment and award more points, but, with just this, Ska’s little game could be lost within the uncountable dual-stick shooters out there. It‘s not; it allows itself to have a sense of humour.

I could easily praise the game on its everyday merits. It’s an undeniably enjoyable title, letting you reap havoc with shotguns, flamethrowers and three-way shuriken hurlers to name but a few of the scattered firearms. The controls are tight and it’s easy to weave through the tiny gaps left in a wave of zombies, shooting like crazy in the other direction before the horde close in on you from all directions. It could have easily gained enough attention just being a simplistic shoot ‘em up slog, but it decided to lampoon the trends flooding XBLI. Dual stick shooters? Beat them at their own game. Countless Snake clones? Include them as a the game’s most dastardly enemy. Uncountable versions of Asteroids? Stop the undead riots for a little while and throw white-framed chunks of rock at the would-be survivors instead. Yes, ones that split into smaller and smaller bits until your biggest threat is being run through by a hard-to-hit and ultimately fatal pebble.

There’s snide shots at all the genres you’re long sick of, and I won’t spoil all the jokes by presenting a list of punch lines. Perhaps the game’s crowning glory is the wonderfully satirical rock background music that shamelessly plugs the game’s merits and flaunts its purchase price of 80msp. The game’s lifespan is directly linked to this song, presenting the zombie hordes it sings about for a set time before dropping into a Geometry Wars-style assault when it changes to a frantic verse of drum-and-bass.

As tongue-in-cheek as Z0MBIES openly is, it never forgets to be competent. It’s a frantic rush for survival first and points second as your time ticks away hilariously in the background. Its satirical edge still shows no mercy to those willing to take on the ever-evolving hordes. It’s a pleasant surprise for this expecting just another sub-par game with l33t thrown in because that’s what the cool kids do these days until they get a grasp on pseudo-irony (and god help us all when that day comes) and a must play experience for everyone else. If you’re one of the few still left out in the dark, I can guarantee you’re all the poorer for it.

Rating: 9/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (June 20, 2010)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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zippdementia posted June 21, 2010:

One thing the Xbox has that entices me greatly is an incredible indie scene. You do that scene justice, here, good EmP. Though I wonder how a machine gun helps you "study:"

"Your study but unremarkable starting machinegun is competent enough to see off the initial wave of lumbering zombies as they shuffle towards you"
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EmP posted June 21, 2010:

Actually, mowing down the undead with the default gun has them quote Shakespeare or give a fraction of an equation. Get a combo kill on the same zombies, and they finish the sum for you. It's finally an education game we can get behind.
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zippdementia posted June 21, 2010:

I really hope you aren't lying. I think you are, but I really hope you aren't.
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Halon posted June 24, 2010:

I tried this at a friend's place a while back and it was surprisingly good. Definitely not 9/10 good, but more than worth the $1 or whatever it goes for.
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EmP posted June 24, 2010:

I considered giving it top marks.

The score's subjective, anyway. Let's all argue about their validity.

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