“ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination is the very definition of high-intensity!”
ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination is an indie action tower defence strategy shooter from Nano Games and published by Kasedo Games. Aside from covering half of the genres in the industry, ZAMB offers a high-intensity, monster crushing experience which can be enjoyed by both one or two players. The game sees you attempting to hack and defend reactor cores whilst battling off hordes of biomutants with the aim of destroying them. Utilising the abilities of two unique characters with very different complimentary skill sets, you must do this and defeat overwhelming bosses over the course of thirty challenging missions. Sound good so far? Then keep reading!
At its core, ZAMB! is all about high-explosive, high-intensity and fast-paced action. It is a game that does not give you the opportunity to think; you have to go hard or go home! This places it in contrast to many other tower defence titles which give you setup time before things kick off. Nope. ZAMB! is very much a real-time defence focussed game, and if you aren’t ready to bring down heavy pwnage (a term used heavily in the game, not my own choice of wording!) upon your enemies then they will overwhelm and destroy you.
So how do you go about defending your hacked reactors from the oncoming waves of nasty, bug-like biomutants? Well, the answer to that is simple; you use the abilities of agents Cye and Chrome! Cye is a melee fighter with advanced combat abilities, whilst Chrome is a technician capable of mustering deadly defences and with a keen eye for shooting up the enemy. In a solo game you must switch between these two and utilise their unique skills in order to succeed, or you can grab a friend for multiplayer and bring on the extermination together. Whichever way you decide to play, the game has been developed very well in making this work. Even in a solo game, switching between characters is quick, easy and no nonsense, never slowing down the action for a second. In multiplayer, you are slightly limited by the extents of the game camera, but otherwise you are truly able to take advantage of being able to be in two places at once. In ZAMB!, that is a great benefit indeed!
Both Cye and Chrome then have their own special abilities which you can smartly use to turn the tide of a fight or plan ahead to bring into your defensive strategy. Cye has a number of special, almost magical, powers which can deal great damage to opponents, including a shock blast and freeze bombs (not technical names I must add, but apt descriptions in the interest of saving time). These can become particularly useful in taking on groups of enemies or if the biomutants make it too close to your reactor and you are forced to make a move to stop them fast. Chrome on the other hand is your turret specialist, who can construct a variety of useful defences and strategic machines to benefit your cause. From basic laser turrets, to healing turrets, to freeze turrets there are a number of options available to you, and it is up to you to find the best combinations. Cye and Chrome’s abilities are not totally separate however, and are in fact best used in combination to create more powerful combo attacks. This is a great feature in keeping the teamwork ethic of ZAMB! very much in the forefront of how you play.
As with any good game of this kind, there is a strong progression system in ZAMB!. As you play through the levels you gain experience, and levelling up can merit you new powers as well as points which can be used to upgrade the ones which you already have in your arsenal. As well as improving your powers in this way however, a number of the game’s levels contain power stations which can improve the range, damage or defence of the turrets you place, as well as explosives which you can utilise in your defensive strategies. You must be careful as you progress deeper into the game however, as the enemies can utilise these too, as well as becoming more varied and more powerful in their own abilities.
The levels themselves in ZAMB! have a fairly standard setup, with reactors, enemy spawners, turret power stations and a few crates with power crystals (used to activate powers) being the general layout that you can expect. As with any solid over the top title such as ZAMB! however, the game does have a big old boss level at the end of each chapter, and boy are these bosses big! The boss fights are both exactly what you would expect and a perfect companion to the rest of the game. It is easy to be disappointed in boss levels in some titles such as this, but in the case of ZAMB! the developers have hit the nail on the head. Otherwise, all that is left to be said is that the levels work in an almost Angry Birds style, giving you stars based on your ability to complete them, and contains a plorethora of extra challenges and achievements to be unlocked as you go, keeping things competitive as you play through. ZAMB! has a bit of everything, but it is more often than not a very good bit of everything, and it all adds up to some very explosive and exciting action!
In terms of the look of the game, there is a semi-cartoony art style which gives a funky, edgy effect to the top down view which you play out the action upon. The different chapters of the game each have their own styles and colour themes despite a consistent style of play across them, which just gives enough of an element of freshness for you to realise you are progressing. The insect-like monsters of the game look menacing and quirky all at once, which fits in nicely with the general theme of the game as a whole, and your own characters look just as over the top and wild as the action which they find themselves in. All in all, everything in this area of development has come together like a jigsaw puzzle, and a varied yet consistent style has been well forged and, most crucially, it works. The audio features of the game do not break this strong pattern either. There are a lot of explosions and loud noises throughout, which is exactly what you want with this level of action. You quickly learn what every sound means and can appreciate the noisiness which is very fitting and is not too much to be annoying or distracting. ZAMB! does well in creating a style which really throws the style of the game at the player, reflecting exactly what the game is all about and never letting the action stop for a moment!
There are few hitches to speak of with ZAMB!. During its early access days, there were issues with the game which one could easily worry might not be fixed, but the developers correctly identified the vast majority of these and created a strong title out of the end of it. As it stands in its finished form, there are only one or two elements of ZAMB! which might stand out as negatives. Firstly, the aiming system in the game is difficult to get to grips with, even after spending a significant amount of time playing. It is by no means impossible, but it is also by no means an easy system to tackle. Secondly, the control system of the game is a little odd. It does not feel entirely comfortable to play with, particularly using a gamepad, and is certainly one of the weaker elements of ZAMB! as a whole. The only other point which one might make is that the levels of the game can seem quite repetitive, but at the same time seem to have some freshness to them… Whilst you are in essence repeating the same tasks each time, the maps vary enough to make it a new challenge. This is less of a weakness of the game then, and more of a point worth mentioning as one which may well bother some gamers. Otherwise, the game is great fun to play and has few if any issues to be spoken of.
ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination is the very definition of high-intensity! It redefines the simplicity and anticipation of what tower defence has always meant, and adds much more to the genre than can generally be expected. It is exciting, has a unique and home-hitting style, and keeps you playing with seamless ease on its part. The levels of the game maintain consistency of play but add variety enough to keep you interested, and are short enough where you can have a quick play but challenging enough where things certainly do not feel like a walk in the park. Control is the only area in which the game struggles, with a difficult aiming system and slightly uncomfortable control setup in place. Otherwise however, ZAMB! is an all round fun title to play and one which is well worth its sensible price tag.
- Fun, exciting and high-intensity gameplay!
- Strong and consistent theme complimented by graphical and audio features.
- Great progression systems for both of the game’s unique characters.
- A perfectly crafted experience for multiplayer gaming.
- Well balanced in both consistency and variety in its challenges.
- Excellent boss levels which pose a genuinely challenging but possible task.
- Certainly no shortage of pwnage!
- Difficult system for aiming.
- Slightly uncomfortable control system.
- Some may find the game repetitive.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.