When a new App takes the top selling game position on the App Store, I usually buy it. I also usually don’t play it more than once, so I never write a review for it. That cycle finally changed a few days ago when I purchased Mika Mobile’s newest release, Zombieville USA 2. I took an interest in this developer with their Battlehearts title, a fun little RPG with a simple combat mechanic that worked. And while Zombieville USA 2 was addicting at first, it has its flaws.
I can’t compare this game to the first one, as I was never overly interested in buying it. But with Halloween coming, I couldn’t help myself. You start the game, and it gives you a brief tutorial, and then you are on your own. The first level is very simple, with one type of zombie coming at you, and never really many at a time. But half the point of the game is to collect loot in the form of cash dropped by both zombies and breakable items.
Each stage gets progressively harder, and has a timer. Once the timer reaches zero, a helicopter comes in to save the day. You are given a score, and told how much money you made. Common sense tells me that the higher the score, the more money you will get, but I finally put that theory to rest when I scored one of my highest scores on the second level, and only walked away with $200. So all those minutes trying to chain together as many kills as I could to get a higher score were a waste.
One of the fun parts about the game is spending cash to buy better guns, equipment, skills, and then upgrading them. Zombieville USA 2 is only one mechanic away from being an awesome little zombie-shooting RPG, and if they added a level up mechanic so that your now-useless score actually meant something, this game would take a whole new twist down an awesome path.
Upgrades inflate for both weapons and skills. This is fine, but when you are only bringing in $200-$500 a round, it gets to be painstaking to upgrade things. And for certain things, the damage increase doesn’t seem to have an effect that can be noted. It took the same amount of handgun shots with the first damage increase, and even the handgun skill, as it did without. But you can’t pick which weapon upgrade is next, so in order to get the “Extra ammo” perks, you have to soldier through and spend that hard earned cash on things you don’t want/care about.
The controls are probably my biggest gripe, but also a universal gripe. I think touch screen “sticks” are flawed in general, and one reason I fight that iOS games will not replace the 3DS/PS Vita (but that’s a whole different argument). At times, my left thumb would slide just a little too much, and my character would stop. Shortly afterwards, I was either severely wounded or dead. And the three buttons for your three preloaded weapons, I would accidentally click one of the other three because they are so close together. So in the heat of combat, tapping my handgun button rapidly would randomly bring out my fireman’s axe. It’s an issue I can’t ignore, but again, something all games that try to use the traditional approach to controls is going to suffer from. But, I’m sure it could have been worse; tilt controls anyone?
If you don’t want to play the generic redneck-style character provided, you can pay $100 to purchase a new one, but they don’t have any in-game effect outside of looking (possibly) snazzier. I, personally, chose a SWAT member which looked like a stunt double for Samuel Jackson.
The graphics themselves look great. As you can tell from the screenshots, it has a very cartoon aesthetic to it, which gives it more a charming appeal. Killing cartoon zombies with a cartoon incarnation of Samuel Jackson is pretty epic.
On of the plus side, this is a perfect little mobile game, much like other Mika Mobile titles I have played. When waiting on someone, or if I am the passenger in the car, I can play a few levels and be done with it. It does have that addictive quality in the beginning, but once I realized the score had little to do with my progress, it became much easier to put down. But for the mere price of $1, it is a solid app, and one I will continue to play off and on I’m sure.
Pros: Weapon upgrades, good mobile-style game with short rounds, charming graphics
Cons: meaningless score, money doesn’t collect fast enough, controls