Zombieville USA Review

Zombieville USA Review

Aug 1, 2011

In the highly likely event that zombies ever take over the world, smartphone users will be best equipped to deal with the undead apocalypse. Not just because smartphone users are the smartest and best looking bunch around, but because we’ve been indoctrinated by a steady drip of zombie slaughtering games.

The latest in this long, shambling, flesh-devouring line is Zombieville USA, a simple side scrolling shooter with gorgeous cartoon graphics and lashings and plenty of gore and viscera. You choose one of seven zom-pocalypse survivors, and have to make your way through the titular town, slaughtering all the festering green skins that get in your way.

Each survivor has their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the SWAT guy does more damage, but his melee attacks are useless, whereas the clown has hardly any health, but will find you lots and lots of money. Money that can be spent on weapon upgrades and health in the store between levels.

You blast your way through the town, occasionally joined by other survivors, shooting anything that moves, ducking into houses to steal money and ammo from inside them and “borrowing” snow ploughs and other vehicles to mow down the slavering zombie hordes.

Zombieville is a fine example of simple gameplay done well. Each of the different survivors offers a different experience, ranging from the simple to the spectacularly difficult. There might not be much variation in the gameplay, but it still manages to be a lot of fun.

If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like running around, clearing the world of the undead menace, then Zombieville isn’t going to be for you. If, on the other hand, you like your zombie games with cutesy graphics, brilliant soundtracks and a wicked sense of humour, then you should pick it up without delay.

Battleheart Review

Battleheart Review

Jun 3, 2011

Paring down a game so that it works on a touch screen phone is a difficult job. Essentially, you have to utilise the space you have on screen as a control system as well as a display. In other words, whatever a player’s fingers are doing, it can’t get in the way of the action that’s happening in-game. One way to counter this is to make a player’s finger taps and slides an integral part of the gameplay itself.

Such is the path of Battleheart, a new RTS/RPG hybrid from Mika Mobile. Eschewing story for a charming art style and simple character progression, Battleheart lets you control epic fantasy battles with a few swipes and taps on the characters involved. It’s not quite an intuitive system, but it does work very well. Most of the time.

Battleheart is a lovely game to look at, full of quirky, cartoony detail and charm. It wears its fantasy cloak with a wry grin and a cheeky wink and never takes itself too seriously, which is good for a game that deals with wizards, rogues and barbarians. The game itself is pretty simple – you hire mercenaries, wipe out any resistance in a level, rinse and repeat. Of course, there’s more to it than that, with levelling up, team balancing, roles, gear and skills all to be taken into consideration as well. Micromanagement of funds, characters and equipment is the key to victory, as well as some nimble fingers and a keen eye.

The game doesn’t quite get its control system right, unfortunately. There are times, especially when the screen is full of enemies, when getting the right person to do the right thing becomes too much of a chore. That’s a far from ideal situation for an RTS to find itself in, but it’s a minor price to pay for what is a lovely game.

Battleheart is a perfectly bite-sized mobile game that’s deep enough to get lost in if you want, but has enough pick-up-and-playability to appeal to the less tactically minded as well. Add to that a great art style, a wicked sense of humour and a smooth UI and it becomes a no-brainer. You should play this game.

Note: The Android Market version of the game doesn’t work on some devices, such as Galaxy S phones, because of download cache issues. However, the Amazon Appstore version should work for those devices affected.