By: Jeff Cater
#killallzombies has sort of been released by Beatshapers, the company who gave us Carnivores and Jet Pack Joyride. I have to use the term “sort of” because, although the game has indeed been released for purchase ($13.99), it literally features one-third of the game. The other two gameplay modes are labelled as “Coming Soon!”
Maybe Beatshapers thought that since big-time developers regularly release titles that are “unfinished”, they can pull the same shenanigans by giving the missing features the “coming soon” guise. This awful trend needs to stop. #ForRealsies
Although there are features missing from the game, the experience of actually playing handles pretty well. #killallzombies is an arena-based, twin-stick shooter, so you better be adept at spinning your thumbs in circles for a while! All in all, the controls are immediately responsive and simple: left stick for movement, right for aiming/firing.
Among the other three buttons you use, you’ll be using triangle to pick out new perks for your round, but you’ll rarely if ever use R1 to manually reload your gun (they automatically reload upon emptying the clip). The third button is your melee attack, which is nearly useless unless you’ve chosen a perk that amplifies your strength or makes it so zombies have a more difficult time landing blows on you.
#killallzombies definitely isn’t a showcase game for flexing the technical muscle of your spiffy new console, but the liveliness of the stage itself and how smooth the action is presented makes the game flat-out entertaining to watch and play. The sheer number of zombies that can occupy your screen (along with other objects such as R.V.s and Acme Anvils falling from the sky) is pretty impressive, especially when you consider there’s no slowdown whatsoever.
The one level available is reminiscent of a mall courtyard, as it’s tiled with clean, tan hexagons. Exploring the edges of the map make it easy to determine that there is indeed a zombie apocalypse; bodies and broken vehicles line the streets.
The sound department had it pretty easy here, as most of the noises you’ll be hearing are gunshots and various zombie moans and groans. Fortunately, the sounds all fit their sources. The soundtrack is also pretty decent and maintains a rock/heavy metal tempo that keeps the violence as blood pumping as possible, though the tracks wear thin and become repetitive in fairly short order.
The real goal of #killallzombies is to amass an audience that influences your experience. Once you start streaming, you are at the crowd’s mercy. Every minute or so, the audience is presented with a small list of options, such as giving the player ice bullets or locking them behind a wall of hexagons. In theory, this is awesome. In execution? Not as much.
The streaming and non-streaming experience is virtually identical, as timed event triggers happen regardless. Unless you have a wingman watching the chat for you, it’s nigh impossible to tell whether the crowd is really making a difference in your match or not.
Streaming features aside, it’s a damn solid twin-stick shooter. The various perks you get spice up gameplay nicely — one of my favorites being a perk called “Guns. Lots of guns.” This immediately kills you, but on your next restart you are presented with a bevy of weaponry to select from before the carnage starts. Once you grab a gun, it’s up to you to thin the herd and avoid falling objects such as Winnebagos and UFOs.
It’s a true shame that the game sold currently is incomplete, as the presented “Survival” mode gets old pretty fast. Currently locked behind the “Coming Soon” door is a Defend the Flag mode and a “Co-Op” mode that I would have loved to have told you about, but alas, I cannot because the developer and publisher deemed the game “done enough.”
It’s hard to score #killallzombies because the game itself is fun, fast and bug-free… but it’s also blatantly incomplete! As such, I’d recommend waiting until the other two modes have been added before pulling the trigger. In the meantime, the developers can add more stuff for the streamers audience to do other than influence zombie spawn rate or what weapon you have. Maybe changing the color of the hexes or the time of day, spawning a ridiculous disco ball, SOMETHING!