Zombies‘ slogan is “Smash all the things.” And while its central conceit – a world in which hordes of already zombie-like business folk up and transformed into actual undead hordes – is depicted in entertainingly tongue-poking-through-rotten-hole-in-cheek fashion, it takes the smashing of things quite seriously. The number of things that can be smashed is tallied at the start of each level, and then you’re told exactly how many things you smashed at the end. And goodness, does smashing ever feel nice. The shotgun, for instance, immerses my most base of senses in a gooey pink hot tub of Hotline Miami, and I don’t mind that one teensy little bit.
It’s certainly not the most complex game, but the free demo‘s a joyous self-conducted symphony of top-down destruction. The second level also has a fairly neat light/dark gimmick to it, which gives me hope that other levels both continue to up the difficulty and introduce new environmental mechanics to the mix.
And then, of course, there’s the unabashedly over-the-top plot wrapper, which quite comfortably leaves room for everything from zombies that stumble (and sprint) around dribbling out buzzphrases like “synergy” and “product management” to, oddly enough, Highlander references.
So it’s a strange little game, but one that takes a time-worn central mechanic and does it up in enough style to bring back a glint of sheen. And if the demo leaves you hungry for more, the full version just launched on Desura at $5.99. The soundtrack’s also quite lovely, so there’s that too. Between simplicity and the occasional chuckle, I could certainly see this becoming one of my go-to “Grr, stressed, kill!” games of choice. And really, you can never have too many of those – especially when they go all zeitgeist-y.