All Zombies Must Die! is a top-down Zombie shooter developed by Doublesix Games, self-published for PC and published by Square Enix on PSN and XBLA. The game was released late December last year for the consoles and hit Steam with a updated PC version on the 12th of March.
AZMD is the story of a gamer, his ex-girlfriend, a geek and an alien. The gamer Jack has always fantasized about a zombie apocalypse and now is his chance to go around shotgunning (among other things) as many zombies as possible, whilst having the time of his life. The story revolves around trying to get out of your town and survive the zombie onslaught.
The dialogue is full of references (mostly gaming related) and Jack has a sub-plot that revolves around Jack thinking that he is in a game world and that Luxo (the alien) is actually the main character. The writing is hit or miss when it comes to being funny or not. It’s neither good nor bad, it really varies and it makes progression a little strange. On the other hand the art style and animations tend to be funnier and gives the game a quirky charm. Character animations are will make you smile as you first see them and they are pretty entertaining to watch throughout the game.
The gameplay has been adjusted since the console debut and now fixes the apparent “tedium” of repetitive gate quests and the zombie crowding has been solved by letting you walk through the zombies in a slow, “treacle” like manner. PC controls are responsive and work just as well as gamepad controls, which is unusual for ports at the moment.
The gameplay is pretty basic at heart but does layer on a few more complex elements to add some depth. Firstly, you will be shooting and (re)killing zombies. There are various types that you will be introduced throughout the game; swat zombies, mutant zombies, jogger zombies and a few more. They are all very varied in their approach to attacking you or how to be killed most effectively (early in the game only). This is given further complexity by the elemental types that can be bestowed on them. Fire, radiation, sonic, electric (and for your weapons only health) will all effect zombies in different ways. Fire will cause constant burning damage to a zombie as well as making it move faster, radiation does a smaller amount of damage over time and can create mutant zombies; that have much more health and some dangerous attacks. Mutants can be elemental types as well, being made into the type element that it is affected by when it transforms. Sonic makes zombies bigger, tougher and makes them resistant to sonic after the initial stun they get from transforming. Electric zombies and electrified zombies are two different types; Electric zombies can electrify other zombies and electrified zombies are much much faster and if electrified too much can become enraged. Enraged zombies are faster, stronger and redder than other zombies.
The role playing mechanics incorporated are a basic levelling system and a weapon crafting system that includes loot drops. Players have four stats; health, defence, attack and speed. Each character levels up each stat at different rates and starts with different stat boosts. In the late game there isn’t much difference between each character; aside from them having their own preferred weapon (which can be changed for a sum of cash). This basically means that character choice boils down to; what you like to use the most weapon wise (including their elemental item) or if it’s worth changing a characters choice or not because you prefer using that character (stats don’t play a big enough role to really affect it). Weapon crafting revolves around collecting elemental items via loot drop quests. Unfortunately it can get very repetitive collecting these if you are upgrading all weapons as each drop has only one location that you can get it from and every loot quest that isn’t fire based is more difficult to complete.
What makes it stand out from other similar games is the fact that rather than choosing a single arena it has a map of the town and you can travel between locations via gates. These gates will give you random quests that you must complete in order to pass through them. They can get in the way if you are just travelling between areas but get frustrating when you are doing quest lines and have very little health left. Three different locations can be your base of operations and act as a safe place for you to upgrade, change weapons or characters. You have to survive a large zombie wave in order to claim a new base though which leave your old base overrun with zombies again.
The characters are well designed, as are the zombies in their various forms but after a large amount of elemental effects occur on one zombie it can be difficult to tell what is affecting it exactly. Animations are pretty strong though, as they add to the humour of the game and make each of the walking dead more interesting than some shambling horrors in other games.
The music has a lot of sounds which are reminiscent of 50s B-movie soundtracks that adds to the overall style the game generates. The soundtrack is a little limited but is easily forgotten about as you wade your way through swarms of zombies.
The story serves it purpose and is really funny on occasion but tends to stick in quirky humour mode for most of the game. The game does however feel a little cut short at the end as it seems almost like there is a build-up which never comes into fruition; though it does deliver one of the funniest parts of the entire story.
Presentation and Audio
The art style suits the light-heartedness of the game and the animations are quite amusing at times. The sounds can get a little repetitive but the music carries an early B-movie vibe with all the sounds that you’d expect out of a “Twilight Zone” soundtrack.
Lack of online co-op in a game that needs it most if disappointing but assuming you can find a friend for local play it is reasonable fun. Singleplayer may get boring after a while but the main quests will keep you entertained sufficiently if you just work towards completion.
If you have a fetish for zombie killing or top-down shooters, then this will tide you over for a while. It does get repetitive after a while and singleplayer can be a little overwhelming but if you can find at least one other person to play with you then it is more fun than some of the other similar titles. The sense of humour that runs throughout and the questing do make it more approachable than others like it.
The lack of online co-op will be the biggest problem as it is very awkward to progress in certain circumstances as the lack of manpower can become quite a task but it is definitely not impossible. As a very co-op based game this does detract from the gameplay but not enough to make the game unfun. The humour holds the game together and makes it stand a little above similar titles.
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.