Undeathcon: Atom Zombie Smasher

By Alec Meer on November 22nd, 2010 at 9:43 pm.


Flotilla and Gravity Bone clever-brain Brendon Chung’s taken the lid off Blendo Games’ latest project – and it’s a zombie game. Wait, wait, wait though: Atom Zombie Smasher is marching its horde somewhere enticingly different to the brain-splatting norm. This isn’t about skulking through the streets with a shotgun. This is a strategy game in which you genuinely have the tools to defeat the apocalypse. To put it the other way: nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Defcon with zombies, or X-COM once the monsters have fully invaded? Elements of both, I hope. Zombie Atom Smasher is a bird’s eye view of the end of the world, bringing in scorched-earth tactics to keep the infini-horde in check.

For once, you’re not the survivors: you’re the guys that the survivors hope and pray are coming for them, able to employ vast military might to save the last vestiges of human life. The scale is such that deadheads aren’t depicted as anything more than a swarm of dots trooping around grid-perspective city blocks: this is the Football Manager of zombie games.

Hell, let’s just let the trailer speak for itself:

Three-player co-op too, eh? That’ll do. I have a very good feeling about this. (Checks FAQ). No release date yet. Bah! We’ll just have to make do with this teasing, pony-based backstory for now.

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46 Comments »

  1. noxxit says:

    So basically it is Tower Defense?

  2. Bassism says:

    This looks like some disease flash game that I played once upon a time, that was quite good. From the looks of it, this might turn out as something similar but with Blendo polish and charm and co-op. I’ll have to keep an eye on this one, even though I pretty much hate zombies.

    • Frank says:

      Yeah, I played that, too. It didn’t have nukes, but did feature several types of scarce resources (wood, survivors, bullets) and allowed you to set up barriers and upgradable sniper towers while slowly expanding through the city, blowing up bridges and stuff!

    • torchedEARTH says:

      Nobody likes zombies. That’s why we must play games where we kill them. Duh.

  3. bbot says:

    Mite be cool if the graphics were a little bit less abstract. The foundation of a game based on bombing zombies from ten thousand feet should be accidentally killing humans because they were grouped up in a suspicious way. Like that Collateral Murder wikileaks video, but a video game.

  4. Ziv says:

    Was pretty ‘meh’ about the game till I read the line “you’re not the survivors: you’re the guys that the survivors hope and pray are coming for them”. Now I’m at ‘ok-I’ll-follow-this-and-see-where-it-goes’.

  5. PleasingFungus says:

    I am incredibly psyched for this game. Gravity Bone is one of my favorite games of all time, Flotilla was tremendous. (And I’m amused that he’s re-using his random name generator from it for this game.) I cannot wait to atom smash some zombies.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Agreed. Blendo might even be my favourite indie dev, if I can venture to say such a thing. Looks like Flotilla’s DING! noise made the grade too (boy, I do love Flotilla).

      The artwork’s fantastic too.

  6. dadioflex says:

    Missile Command, with zombies?

  7. MrEvilGuy says:

    HOLY SHIT

    Three player co-op is amazing!

    I want someone to tell me if I am wrong, but I find that co-op is almost always either designed for 2 players or 4 players, but not specifically for 3 players!
    The great thing about 3 player co-op is that I only have 2 friends who actually play video games with me!
    Sure, 3 player co-op in a 4 player co-op designed game is alright, but in many cases it is annoying (obvious example = left 4 dead with shitty ai).

    Edit: On second thought, it’s hard for me to think of a good reason for 3 player co-op instead of 4 player.
    If the developer is going to add features and stuff to allow co-op beyond 2 players, they might as well bump it up to 4 or greater, rather than leaving it at 3.
    Also, it really depends on the game to decide what works best and stuff.

    However, I still find it interesting to point out (again, correct me if I’m wrong) that the usual formula is either 2 player co-op or 4 player co-op, rather than 3 player co-op or 5 player co-op or 6 player co-op.
    My best guess to explain this phenomenon is that regular multiplayer requires equal teams usually. So 1v1 or 2v2 or 3v3 and so on require even numbers, and this trend has moved to co-op because it’s the trend.

    • Brendon Chung says:

      @MrEvilGuy – I agree with you! But, the tech we’re using for Atom Zombie Smasher supports 1 mouse and 2 joysticks, so that’s how we ended up with a 3 player limit.

    • Lightbulb says:

      Trine is 3 player. Played it with my girlfriend – she took the Knight and I took the other two. No one make any comments like “no question about who wears the trousers…” *glare* :)

      I wouldn’t have thought with this game that there was any particular reason to stop at 3 people. Unless the roles are not the same. One person nukes, one person controls the army and another the civilians. But that would limit things a bit really – I think it would be a bit boring.

      We shall see…

  8. Wilson says:

    This sounds like it could be good. I’ve fancied a zombie game where you are the people trying to control it all rather than individuals being chased by zombies. I’ll certainly keep an eye on this.

  9. Gorbachev says:

    I remember when I played this, maybe like ten years ago?

    http://www.hardcorepawn.com/zombie3/

    • PleasingFungus says:

      I like how you link to a tiny 10-year-old Java toy to prove that it’s been ‘done before’. Did the existence of Tower of Goo mean that World of Goo had been ‘done before’?

      (no)

  10. mwoody says:

    This isn’t a slam on RPS but on the gaming community in general, but: seriously? More zombies? This is getting older than WW2. And I LIKE zombies, more than the average person at least. Or at least I did until it became mandatory subject matter and/or DLC for everything.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      somebody didn’t drink their juice this morning

    • jeremypeel says:

      Talk to Quinns. Orange juice ahoy.

    • Wilson says:

      @mwoody – Eh, I kind of know what you mean, but it doesn’t bother me much. I still like WW2 games and I still like zombie games. You only have to get the really good games anyway, so at the end of the day you’ll only be playing as much of a particular theme as you want. I think I would rather have more interesting and unusual stuff than less common stuff.

  11. James Allen says:

    December/January is the insider info I got about the release date.

  12. Hodge says:

    Sold.

  13. MadMatty says:

    I didnt get Flotilla at all- so you just move underneath them and shoot? can someone explain why this game is worth playing? i only used like 2 hours on it, and it left me a bit underwhelmed

    • Yargh says:

      you get more than one type of ship…

    • MadMatty says:

      Ill give it another go sometime, i Effin Splurged Squid on It.

    • Tacroy says:

      And “underneath” means nothing… IN SPAAACE.

      No seriously, if you start winning the AI gets more intelligent and will start doing things like applying rotations to their ships in order to keep the thick armor between your guns and their vulnerable underbellies. It makes actual tactics like pincer movements a requirement.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Beyond a certain point, ‘just move beneath the enemy and shoot’ won’t work. Enemies will rotate around their centerline to face their bottoms upward (wow, that’s a strange turn of phrase), and then where will you be? To get really good at the game’s combat, you have to learn to trick your opponent (especially satisfying against humans, but also fun enough against the AI); to anticipate where they’ll be and where they’ll face by anticipating where they think you’ll be and where they think you’ll face. It’s a delicious tactical puzzle.

      Also, the explosions are very satisfying.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      (also, what Tacroy said)

    • Tacroy says:

      Guessing is for the weak. Real tacticians arrange things so that no matter what, the optimal orientation for the AI always involves getting rockets up their exhaust pipe.

  14. fartron says:

    when are we getting malfunction junction back

  15. Robert Yang says:

    It’s more like X-Com + The Last Guy + Chu Chu Rocket.

    You’re going to love it.

    (and hopefully Brendon made this one moddable!…)

  16. LudwigTheurer says:

    It’s curious that even given ideal conditions (Tracking of each individual human, indication of who is infected and who is not.) it would be damn hard to contain a zombie infection in a real world scale without going massive on the collateral damage.

    Obviously it all depends on very small variables of how the whole thing works but in a broad sense, it’s really like trying to kill a large ant’s nest using chop sticks.

  17. Kantorai says:

    Kind of reminds me of one of the first PC games I played back in the 80′s. A text-based survival game were you had to defend the US from swarms of killer bees with all handful of strategies were nukes were the ultimate solution. The crux of the game was that you lost if too many citizens were killed by the bees or your indiscriminate nuking, so I never really won the game. Don’t think it was possible.

    Anyone know what that game was called?

  18. Flakfizer says:

    I love the premise of this but it looks too frenetic, too twitchy for this old gamer.

  19. Luke says:

    Can’t help but feel they’ve missed the point abit. Zombie’s are all about the Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead stuff, at least for me, disparate and desperate survivors against the horde.

    This has been done to death already (although not really in an RTS mould, which I think there might be something to be said for) and while I appreciate the originality of the idea I think it’s too cast off from it’s theme to allow for there to be many strengths in the game, especially given it’s presentation.

    It sounds abit like World in Conflict, which is a great game, but with unnecessarily abstract presentation. Now if you were to have the polish and presentation of WIC for this idea, I’d be excited, people running around the beautiful little towns, finding shelter in the schools and McDonalds and the likes, locking them down before getting some tactical points to bomb and hold the zombies off.

    As it is it just looks and sounds like tower defence, with a poorly realised theme.

    • Wilson says:

      @Luke – I would disagree. Zombies have traditionally been all about the survivors against the horde, but I think it’s a shame that’s all they’ve been about so far. This probably depends on personal preferences, but all I know is that when I was playing L4D2 seeing all the police cars and CEDA vans made me want to play a game where I’m in charge of CEDA. There’s potential for a drama and difficult decisions on an epic scale.

      Although looking at the trailer, this looks like it’ll be more arcadey than my ideal zombie game, but it’s still something a bit different. If they pull it off, it could be way more than a zombie themed tower defence.

    • Luke says:

      No, I think you’re right in that there’s definitely the chance for something good in this vein. I’d love to play the WIC alike I suggested, where you guide the survivors to safety and then use tactical aid from the FBI or the like, I just feel that the style they have gone for doesn’t allow for much variety/creativity, which WILL be needed in considerable amounts for the idea to work, it looks as though it will just be a lot of birds eye clicking on an increasing number of dots.

      Stil hope it pays off though. Just seen the Romero films over the Halloween week for the first time so I’m getting into the whole zombie thing just now.

  20. Zapatero says:

    This looks like The Raging Dead on iPhone, without the annoying can’t-see-a-damn-thing-because-of-my-fat-fingers control method.

  21. Ballisticsfood says:

    My god, an actual version of a game I made in Multimedia Fusion 2 back in the day! Blendo Games are stealing ideas out of my head, I’d swear.

    Oh well, time to break out the tinfoil hat.

    Again.