If you give me zombies, I’m content. If you give me zombies that I can then zoom past and plaster all over the bonnet of my virtual SUV, well, you have my interest peaked. Zombie Highway is a small title on the iOS platform which combines zombie survival and your ability to dodge obstacles in a never faltering car and I have to say that it gets quite addictive. But does this addictive nature the game gives off prevent the eventual boredom?
Obviously, this is another one of those “can you beat your highscore” games and while it doesn’t exactly do a brilliant job at showing how many miles you lasted while you play, it makes up for in entertaining short bursts of zombie slaying, with a minor variety between each level you unlock after earning a certain medal (bronze, silver, gold) and completing challenges which will allow you to earn new guns and money (this usually ranges from kill fifty zombies with shotgun for a double barrelled version). I found myself coming back for more and more, but only ever in quick five minute bursts, which, while it speaks for the addictive nature of ‘maybe this round’ mentality surrounding these types of games, it really shows that the minor variety in with each level doesn’t exactly cut it.
Sure it adds more of a challenge (like removing the ability to fire off a weapon or adding thick fog), but I’m still driving down that same highway, constantly in a straight line with a few minor jolts to avoid colliding with debris. Maybe if it took me around in twists or veered me near cliffs (instead of the colour pallet swap of the sand to swamp, etc..) I might have had more interest in this really (and bizarre fashion) of murdering the undead.
Now talking of murdering the undead and the undead themselves, how is it? Well, by ramming the car into the unsuspecting zombie, it causes them to splat across the bonnet (I played this on the first gen iPod Touch, so I’m lead to presume there might be rumble on impact), but if they see you coming up the highway, they’ll latch on and not let go till you blast them in the stupid, rotting faces with the three guns you’ve come equipped with. By tapping on the back half of the screen, you’ll fire in the back and the front half will get rid of any pesky living corpses on the front. This doesn’t always work so well and I find the guns take way too long to get rid of any threat – which if the car gets lob-sided, you’ll be tipped over and forced to restart. Zombies differ in type, regular, fat and strong. Regular zombies are as they seem, just the cannon fodder that get in the way while you fend off the fatter, heavier zombies which if two of those decide to hitch a ride, you’re going down very, very, quickly. Strong zombies won’t appear frequently till you reach a particular point, but don’t pose much of a threat other than a red health bar. Of course, if you would rather conserve ammo, you can just whack into the side of destroyed and burnt out cars littering the highway you’re travelling down.
The game isn’t a stunner for the iOS, but take that with a grain of salt as I am playing on the first iPod Touch so I don’t think I can really talk here. But really, each course is lazily designed and just a pallet swap of the same track with different graphical tricks placed on top. “We’re in a swamp? Let’s make it foggy!” or “The level is dictating that debris is few and far between? Copy paste, but delete some items from the course.” In this regard, I can’t even make a good point, because the highway is so boring to look at, soul draining and just detracts from the game as a whole.
If the game had incorporated some actual action or at least something to change up the tracks, I might have remained interested for more than the five minutes I allocate it every so often, but I can’t deny the idea is incredibly cool and it does handle how driving sections in games should be dealt with on the iOS and other touch platforms (let me focus on the action), it just fails to deliver on anything other than a yearning to beat a high score that I don’t really care about, because it just unlocks the same track but in a nice shade of green.