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ZP2KX: Zombies and Pterodactyls 20XX (Xbox 360) artwork

ZP2KX: Zombies and Pterodactyls 20XX (Xbox 360) review

"You could choose to mow them down with machine pistols or shotguns. With rocket launchers, plasma cannons or flare guns. With flamethrowers, assault rifles, proxy mines, grenade launchers or samurai swords. Railguns, icebeams, mini-nukes, souped-up pistols, golden guns or just a plain old kick to the head."

I played maybe half an hour of ZP2KX before stopping in my tracks and staring at the screen thoughtfully. Then, I left the game running at the start-up screen, logged up my laptop and sent the following IM.

EmP: I've never steered you wrong, right?
DoI: Nothing horrible jumps to mind
EmP: Might I suggest that, at your earliest convenience, you spend $1 on purchasing ZP2KX.
EmP: It's what Unreal Tournament would be if it was 2D and had Pterodactyls.
DoI: Unreal Tournament, you say?
EmP: Yes. Or Quake III, if you appreciate the finer things.
DoI: Uh-huh
EmP: It also has zombies.
EmP: And an AK-47 that shoots cats.

Then I shut the laptop off, and played the game for a further few hours until I realised it was the early hours of the morning and Iíd been dribbling on my shirt.

ZP2KX is that kind of game. You donít really believe what youíre playing is as good as it is or really how to describe what it is youíre playing. Itís deathmatch oriented enough to warrant the Unreal/Quake comparison, but also shares traits with games like Worms, Gunstar Heroes and previous Ska stand-out Indie game, Z0MBIES. You basically get a screen filled with 2D platforms and ten players, then you do your level best to slaughter as many of them as you can.

You fire your range of weapons through the tried-and-tested Dual Stickô method; you run around with the left stick, and firing in a 360į scope with the right one. Itís not often used outside of an overhead perspective, but works here because of the range of movement available to you. You can run up walls and across ceilings. You have a jet-pack grafted to you back that allows you to soar through skies or zip through the murky depth of water (though donít go too deep -- there lurks monstrous angler fish just waiting to swallow you whole) so targets could show up from anywhere. The option to mow them down, no matter where they spawn, is a vital inclusion.

You could choose to slaughter them with machine pistols or shotguns. With rocket launchers, plasma cannons or flare guns. With flamethrowers, assault rifles, proxy mines, grenade launchers or samurai swords. Railguns, icebeams, mini-nukes, souped-up pistols, golden guns or just a plain old kick to the head.

Then the weapon crates fall from the sky containing cannons that fire syringes full of poison or rainbow launchers that lift struck foes skywards in a quietly humming crescendo of colours. Shrink rays turn targets tiny, able to be stomped underfoot, and huge, flaming swords slice and burn anyone unfortunate enough to come in contact. And then there's an AK-47 that spits out cute, fluffy kittens at an alarming rate, kittens that litter the floors and cause no end of mewing mischief.

Despite the hours Iíve sunk into the game, Iíve probably still not seen every weapon there is. Iíve won my share of death matches, of capture the flag and zombie hunts, to climb up the experience ladder, unlocking new character classes and skills. I started life with a Tank character, clad in medieval armour who had higher than standard health and robotic hands for quicker reloads, but changed him into a customised Sneak; a zombie spawning with a huge katana who can run faster than the rest and drops a hand grenade upon death. Heís decked out in S.W.A.T gear and wears a Sam Fisher-like night-vision mask. A dark suited human wearing a gas mask serves as my Madman class, holding two machine pistols with extended clips and a flak jacket for kicks. Rack up some deaths, extend them into streaks, kill people in droves and watch the xp rack up.

I intended to write this review earlier than I have. I really did. But the nagging sensation that thereís more to the game that I needed to see prevailed. So I jump online at 9pm (Skaís double-experience happy hour) and I blow other people to bloody chunks. I watch those with more experience fly around the screen on batwings sporting hockey masks and evil intentions. I run up walls swinging swords, or fly across the skies dropping rockets and splash damage. I kick people into the depths of the sea, and I laugh as theyíre devoured by giant fish. And I hit up the people on my IM list and smugly share stories of how Iíve just come off a 15 kill streak armed only with Cloudís giant sword and a healthy disregard for life.

And I won't stop: not until everyone I meet has died via kitten projectiles.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (January 24, 2011)

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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A decent budget platformer if you canít Ňfjord a better one


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SamildanachEmrys posted August 16, 2011:

I just tried this almost at random, and then wondered if there was an HG review. It is a spectacularly brilliant game, and proof that if you can dodge all the generic shooters and crappy waste of time bilge in the indie section, there are actually games worth finding. This isn't just a tolerably decent clone of a full retail game (as many of the better indies are), it's actually a good and inventive game in its own right. And uniquely for an indie game (in my experience), it actually has people playing it online. That's how good it is.

The game it reminds me of most, actually, is Super Smash Bros. It's like a more psychotic Smash Bros.

Anyway, I just wanted to agree emphatically with this review.
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EmP posted August 16, 2011:

I'm just glad people are still playing this game. It would break my heart if I ever logged on and found it empty during the happy hour.

Here's a secret: I still don't know how to kick!
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SamildanachEmrys posted August 16, 2011:

I haven't been able to find out how to kick either. I get the impression it comes from an unlockable skill, but I don't know for sure.
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SamildanachEmrys posted August 19, 2011:

GOT IT! You click the right stick to kick, and left stick to sort of taunt (which looks dangerously like teabagging).
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EmP posted August 20, 2011:

I knew how to taunt. It was popular when I first started, so I equioped the drop grenade when I die" skill and harvest the cheap kills.

Good find! I was sick of people pulling out kicks and being unable to respond.

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