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Populesque: zOMT

a green, unpleasant land

Adult Swim: home of naughty cartoons and a surprising number of clever, free indie games. UK ministudio Preloaded are the latest to join those ranks, with side-scrolling, high-casualty strategy game zOMT.

Auto-marching strategy games, wherein your lads do most of the violent legwork for you once you’ve built them, are increasingly pervasive – the nominal successor to tower defence, and based on similar values. zOMT differs somewhat in that it’s primarily a defensive game, with you spending generated mana on constructing soldiers, exploding madmen, elemental spells, bomb-bouncing clouds and sturdy trees to keep an implacable enemy from nobbling your base.

It’s a good and surprisingly challenging time, evoking bits of Lemmings, Populous and Plants vs Zombies, as well as auto-marchers such as Swords and Soldiers. Despite every level pretty much looking the same, it does a grand old job of presenting a different sort of challenge, and a different sort of batshit response, for most of ’em. Particularly oddball but satisfying is placing the aforementioned bouncy clouds in the right place and at the right angle to return catapults’ bombs right to their stupid wooden faces.

Also: features angry bears. Angry bears make everything better. Well, apart from camping trips.

Here’s a trailer, in case your employer or browser forbids you from loading the game:

zOMT is a free browser game which you can play here.

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Alec Meer

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Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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