Zombii Attack Review (WiiWare)

The flow of software continues to Nintendo’s WiiWare service, and one of the latest titles is Zombii Attack. For the cost of 500 Wii Points, you’re promised a game that sounds serviceable enough: help deal with a zombie (Zombii?) outbreak in a light-hearted action game centering around shooting at zombies with a giant slingshot, or launching them into the air with the same slingshot. The game boasts 18 levels, 8 zombie types, 8 weapon types – and there’s evil a driving minigame included. For 500 Wii Points! Can you go wrong with this? Read on to find out!

The gameplay is straightforward enough. Zombii Attack tasks you with helping Doctor Zii deal with a zombie outbreak, throwing you down in a variety of fixed-location areas armed only with a giant slingshot. While the slingshot can be fitted with a variety of weapons, including car tires and explosives, your mainstay ammo is good old-fashioned rocks. The zombies attack in a straightforward way, as you’d expect – running straight towards you and moaning, and there’s an upgradeable barrier around your slingshot which can hold out for a while in the face of a zombie attack. Level to level your primary goal is to not only take down these zombies but actually pick up a certain combination of different-colored zombies to launch into a moving bag/net held by a helicopter. Pick up and launch the right zombies and you can finish the level.[singlepic id=5208 w=320 h=240 float=right]

Let’s talk about the zombies first. The game boasts 8 of them, and they’re easy to tell apart – there are orange zombies, green zombies, blue zombies, brown zombies… you get the idea. And that really sums up the enemy variety in this game – slightly different colors. Maybe some more noticeable health difference with the later zombies. As I mentioned before, the color of these zombies factors into the game since each stage requires a different mix of colored zombies to be flung to the helicopter in order to move on. You can – and in order to survive, must – just flat out eliminate some of the attacking zombies, which earns you additional money to spend on ammo and upgrades. Kill enough and you’ll enter a mode which spawns even more zombies to attack you with a bonus multiplier in play.

That’s pretty much the game. Now, there’s a little more to it than that – I encountered some basic bonus round mini-game where I had to drive a car, hitting zombies and avoiding obstacles to rack up points. Another stage required dealing slingshot-damage to a building that was producing the zombies. But I’ve pretty much summed the entire game up so far. I’ll mention that, of course, the game gets more and more difficult as you go on – since you need to deliver a greater number of zombies in a wider variety of colors, and some of the zombies take a longer time to show up. Which means you’ll have to fend off attacks from zombies in the meantime, which in turn fills up your bonus meter that can launch rushes of even more zombies at you… it can get hectic. But it’s a type of hectic that feels less like “frantic excitement” and more like “busywork to draw things out”.

[singlepic id=5209 w=320 h=240 float=left]Graphically, the game is poor even by the Wii’s standards. In fact, graphically the game is more on the level of the more aggressively 3D games of the Super Nintendo days. Whatever horrible formula created these zombies also made them extremely blocky and angular. Detail in general is on the sparse side, and the different locations of zombie-conflict don’t fare much better than the zombies themselves. The same holds true for the sound in Zombii Attack – it screams ‘minimal effort’. The best thing it has going for it is the title music, which is admittedly a little catchy.

Now, this is where I’d be expected to say that the saving grace of the game is the cost. At 500 Wii Points, it works out to around five dollars USD. But to be dead honest, that’s too much. If it were out on any other platform – PC, the iOS App Store, the Android – this would be a 99 cent game at most. It’s not that the Zombii Attack tries something new and aggressive but fails to pull it off, but that it hardly seems to try to be much of a game at all. There’s very little in the way of creativity, graphical polish, or otherwise in the game – even the between-stage story text comes across as phoned in. At 99 cents – or 100 Wii Points – it would qualify as perhaps a possible fun distraction. At 500 Wii Points, it’s just plain hard to justify – especially in an age where portable games are regularly deeper, more developed, and cheaper than Zombii Attack.

Check out the gameplay video for this one to enjoy the music, at most. Then pass it by.

Victor Grunn has been a gamer since the days of single-button joysticks and the Atari 800XL. When not lamenting the loss of the Ultima series or setting people on fire in Team Fortress 2, he's an aspiring indie game developer and freelance writer.
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