Time comes and goes, kingdoms rise and wane, and one thing remains the same: we can never get enough of zombies. As such, it feels like good news that Android developer HeroCraft has just launched Zombie Derby 2 on Google Play.
If the game looks familiar, it’s probably because it is based off of a popular arcade game. The game sports upgradable vehicles, guns, multiple modes and gritty 3D graphics that underscore the post-apocalyptic time frame. The vehicles have a Mad Max-ish feel to them, and there is plenty of gory splashing to go around, as well as hilly jumps to traverse.
Oh yeah, and all the zombies a gamer could ever want.
The game is free to download now, and there are in-app purchase opportunities for those truly looking to get immersed.
The gameplay is rendered in 2D form, with glossy graphics and usable animations. The raceway is irregular and runs from left to right, with zombies generally coming somewhere from the right of the playing area. The artwork does help to define the game, with rolling, intimidating hills and severe drops that encourage the vehicles to go airborne.
The controls are virtual in nature and placed at the bottom of the playing area: go buttons for forward and backwards movements, and flip (front and back) buttons to the left.
The game brings in several fun elements together. It is first and foremost a zombie derby, and if there is anything humanity can agree on, it is the need to use souped up trucks to dispatch the undead. The game rewards prowess in destroying these zombies, and even adds in a gun to the truck; the gun can be activated by tapping the screen. Otherwise, good old fashion running the zombies over works just fine.
The problem with ramming the creatures is that it slows down the vehicle, which is not good since the game incorporates time trials as part of the quest system. One almost always wants good momentum when going up the hills, as the game generally does a good job of applying physics to the gameplay. If one does not have enough momentum, the truck rolls backwards, and this is when the back button becomes useful to help reveres and pick up some distance. Additionally, the aforementioned quests add a lot to the game, as it adds a rolling set of challenges to each level. For the truly competitive, there is an online multiplayer version.
The driving mechanism is fun, as it takes a bit of technical expertise to keep the car upright; if the vehicle lands on its back, it explodes, ending the run unsuccessfully. There are obstacles too, and then the game tosses in power-ups too. Vehicles and weapons can be upgraded via the in-app store as well.
All together, it’s a fun, worthy spin-off that provides a lot of enjoyment.
Zombie Derby is about three ubiquitous concepts: destruction of the undead, crazy driving, and insane vehicular modifications.
In this motorized horror adventure, a vehicle is commandeered from left to right, trying to make it to a safe haven. Between me and that safe haven are innumerable zombies and obstacles… not to mention other unfortunate issues, like inadequate gas supply. Plowing through monster bodies earns cash.
The controls are minimal, and consist of virtual buttons for acceleration and another to fire. There is also a nitro button button that appears when that upgrade is activated.
I like the relatively simple upgrade process. Some games make it so convoluted. In Zombie Derby, you race, dispatch zombies, earn points, upgrade elements that make the vehicle more viable, and finish the level to move on. Fairly straightforward.
The upgrades are fairly logical. It starts out with a basic truck with little gas. Every run results in points and cash, which can be used to build up stuff like fuel capacity, rocket boosters and engines. A lot of these boosts could be increased in progression; for example, at the base level, I could upgrade gas with an amount of game cash. To get gas capacity raised again, a larger amount is needed, and so on, till that element maxes out for that level. The same applies to weaponry and more. Increasing the elements invariably increases the length of the runs and the cash haul, so everything works together.
With all upgrade elements fully upgraded, it finally becomes possible to complete the run to walls of safety, and unlock the next level. It is then possible to purchase new vehicles and start the upgrade process again. In-app purchasing is available to expedite the process with real money
As progress is made, it becomes evident that running over bodies and obstacles, while horrifically fun, isn’t always the best option; in an ode to realism, the developer ensured collisions slow speed. Thus, it makes sense to use the guns to take out objects when possible. But there is never an unlimited supply of bullets either, so management is key.
The graphics and sound just fit, with nice 3D graphics that I selfishly thought could have been even more refined. I do appreciate the gore wasn’t overdone, which seems to be a hard balance to strike in zombie-themed games.
As far as zombie games go, this one just about proves that we are not saturated just yet.