Review of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 on XBLIG: Buy
The game that launched a meme, Zombies is the kind of crazy awesome only Indies can produce!
In 2009, James Silva of Ska Studios took a break from working on larger games to have some fun and create a dual stick zombie shooter. He expected it to fail quickly and enjoy a laugh with some fellow developers over the absurdity of it all. The Internet had other plans however…
I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 is a basic dual stick shooter. Played solo or with up to four friends (local play only), the game play involves shooting zombies and other monsters while picking up power ups such as shot guns and shields. The goal is to survive for about 14 minutes, at which point the nightmare ends and the game is over. A local leaderboard provides a way to challenge yourself to improve each time you play.
What is great about Zombies isn’t the game play, but the experience. The text, character, and monster graphics are crude, yet convey exactly what they were meant to convey and do not take away from the thrill of mowing down fields of zombies with a rocket launcher. The game makes heavy use of lighting effects to give off a total chaos feeling. Perhaps the critical element, the music, lighting, and level changes are synced up that exposes a level of polish hidden at first glance.
The game’s music is a single song, running 13:37 long (James claims that is only a coincidence – I have my doubts). The words are sung, and all the instruments played, by James. Drawing from his experience as a member of a ska band, James starts of telling you “Welcome to my game. I put Zombies in it, for your pain.” James doesn’t just explain what going on, but he is informative and optimistic, singing “It costs a dollar and I hope you pay it.” The song in Zombie became so popular James posted the full song to his blog and also has made it a downloadable track for Rock Band 2.
You might think the hype of Zombies is divorced from the actual game’s quality (I don’t know of any other Indie games that can claim a Hot Topic T-Shirt), however I am here to say the game backs up it’s hype with solid gameplay. The monsters and power ups are well balanced, always keeping the zombies right on the verge of breaking through. The controls are simple enough that I can enjoy playing with my seven and ten year old daughters (actually, they were six and nine when we first played) for some family zombie killing fun time. The game doesn’t have set levels, but there are several “scene changes” over the course of the game that mix up the action and keep things interesting.
Zombies is a must Buy. This kind of crazy-doesn’t-make-sense awesome game can only come from Indie developers – an idea like this would never make it off of the Activision white board before getting axed by a gutless middle manager. Zombies also represents the first XBLIG title to get mainstream attention: it is a piece of gaming history. It is also, one helluva fun game!
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