Battle Bears: Zombies! Review

Battle Bears: Zombies! Review

Sep 13, 2011

Trapped behind enemy lines, you, playing as Oliver the bear, find yourself being encroached upon by an army of teddy bears, all seeking to hug you to death. You must fight off wave after wave of the army of teddy bear zombies before they reach your sandbag barricade. It’s a crazy premise, and it only gets crazier as you watch through each cutscene, learning more about Oliver’s plight and what you must do to get by. However, while the setting and premise are unusual, the gameplay is a little closer to standard stuff we’ve seen before.

As you look across a landscape that seems to have been inspired by Windows XP’s default wallpaper, you see the wall of pink bears making their way towards you. You never move from the barricade; you’re always just waiting for them to come to you so that you can cut them down. Head shots are preferred and result in a stream of rainbow-blood spray. It’s comical, and just slightly disturbing. But then come the boss fights, and things get really weird. The first boss plays like Whack-A-Mole as bears dressed like some kind of carnival game operator — complete with straw hat and cane — pop up and shoot colored “rays” at you. If you take too much damage, or they get too close, as with the normal wave-based battle, it’s quickly game over. Along the way, you also fabricate new weapons, such as the “bearzooka,” the “swearaphone,” a cross-bow that fires unicorn horns and other wild weapons. You’ll need every advantage you can get.

This game is pretty far from perfect, however. On the Android Market page, SkyVu Pictures warns that the game takes a while to load, and it does. I can only wonder, if the developers know about it, why don’t they fix it? Other problems crop up in the sound department, where the volume seems to be all over the place. During cutscenes, for example, the volume is high and sounds distorted. Yet, during gameplay, the volume is much more acceptable. Then comes the shaky controls that sometimes don’t respond. Out of all this, however, the worst problem is that the game doesn’t seem to retain any of your progress. Clicking “resume” doesn’t do anything; you’re always starting from the beginning of the game. I’m not sure if it’s a bug or by design, but it’s quite annoying if you like games with a sense of progress.

Battle Bears: Zombies! could be a lot better. Technical problems aside, it’s a quick, forgettable thrill that seems to be very haphazardly put together. Fun though it may be at first, the gameplay simply doesn’t live up to the concept and zany visuals. It especially doesn’t live up to the action and suspense of its own cutscenes. As a simple shooter, it might be fun for a few minutes for a quick distraction. The steady stream of new weapons certainly help add some diversity to the game, but beyond that, it tends to get a bit monotonous.


Age of Zombies Review

Age of Zombies Review

Jun 10, 2011

It seems like forever ago that Age of Zombies came out on Android as an Xperia Play exclusive. Well, finally, the rest of us get a chance to play this dual-stick shooter from Halfbrick Studios and see what we’ve been missing out on.

In Age of Zombies, you control Barry Steakfries as he travels through time, blasting zombies that have been released into the past. You start off in the prehistoric era, surrounded by zombie cavemen. Your standard weapon is the pistol, but you get temporary upgrades to other weapons as they randomly pop up, like shotguns, SMGs and more, including my personal favorite, the buzzsaw! There’s nothing quite like mowing through a horde of zombies with a giant, spinning blade to paste a big grin across my face. You also have a small supply of grenades to turn a mob of brain-hungry zombies into a blazing bonfire of the undead. It’s a lot of fun.

You have to eliminate all the zombies in each of 3 areas across 5 different eras, giving you a total of 15 zombie-filled stages. Before you can leave an era, however, you have to go through an insane boss fight with some pretty tough characters, like a zombie t-rex! Then, when you’re done with Story Mode, you get to see how long you can last in Survival Mode, fighting off waves of zombies as you try to build up a high enough score to rise to the top of the leader boards.

Age of Zombies brings a good, tongue-in-cheek approach to the world of zombie survival. Barry is awfully fond of his one-liners, even if they come up flat every now and then, and the caricatures of period-appropriate zombies keeps things fresh as you progress through the game. Zombie cavemen, zombie gangsters, zombie mummies, zombie ninjas and… zombie alien cyborgs. I guess things get a little nuts in the future.

Players get plenty of options when it comes to controls. You can either have “floaty” controls that pop up when you touch the screen and move relative to how you move your thumb, or you can have static controls that are always visible. You can even adjust the size of the stick area, custom tailoring the experience to your style of play.

Halfbrick did their best to bring something new to the dual-stick shooter genre, and while Age of Zombies may not play all that different from industry standards, it sure does bring a lot of heart and character. Fun graphics, great gameplay, funny dialog and characters that all add up to a fantastic game. Although it may be a bit short, it’s a lot of fun to play again and again. We’ve been waiting a long time for this one, and it’s good to see that Age of Zombies delivers!