Are you hankering to kill some zombies, but you're looking for a new way to do it? Awesome Games Studio, a Polish indie duo, have mashed up the tower defense genre with a straight up shooter game in Yet Another Zombie Defense. Rather than tapping on the screen to marshal your defenses or focus your firepower as you would with other tower defense games, you control your lone survivalist character with a pair of virtual joysticks on the screen: one for moving and one for shooting. It has a feel of the classic dual stick arcade games like Robotron or Smash TV, but with the goal of keeping yourself and your defenses from being torn to the ground by the zombie hordes.
And don’t let the cute, squat character styles fool you (those red mohawked zombies are crazy!). YAZD will keep you moving and blasting the undead for hours (I had to force myself to stop playing in order to write this). Here’s what it’s all about: Hunkered down around a solitary lamppost in the middle of an, at first, empty landscape, you are forced to gun down hordes of zombies as they descend upon your location. There are a variety of zombies: some slow, some fast, and some even explode, effecting others around them, the living and the undead. The game seems almost too simple at first as it’s just a matter of running one way and shooting the opposite way, but that quickly changes as the levels advance.
If you survive each level, or “day”, you get to use the money that the slain zombies drop (must have been rich in their former lives to carry around so much cash) to buy upgraded weapons and structures to fortify your home base around the lamp. Some are destructible fairly quickly with more than one zombie scraping away at it, like a wooden barricade, while others can hold out the invaders much longer (steel). So while this is technically a tower defense game as you have to build defenses and you can build turrets to wipe out your enemies, Yet Another Zombie Defense gives you the freedom to make your character, not your fortress, the center of the game. Though, oddly enough, there were times that the zombies seemed more interested in eating steel barricades than chomping on me, even when I was within reach.
And while the game does hook into the iOS Game Center to keep track of your achievements and scores, it was, at first, a little disappointing to find that you can’t save your game or continue where you left off in the previous game, retaining your purchased weapons or structures from game to game. But it’s those lack of comforts that make the whole experience of playing the game all the more intense. This keeps longtime players from having some mega-fortress waiting for them the next time they decide to log on and face off against the zombie masses. When you die, you die. You don’t get to take your stuff with you, just like in real life. When you return, you have to start from scratch. But each time it makes you want to go a little further, knowing that you can’t take anything for granted when you step into the game. And that creates lots of challenging, fun replay value.
You can download Yet Another Zombie Defense from the Apple App Store one week for only .99 starting on February 25th. After that it goes up to $1.99. Either way, it’s worth a download if you are in need of some blast-tastic cross-genre gaming involving everyone’s favorite moving targets: zombies.