With a blunt title like All Zombies Must Die, it’s hard to imagine that a game could be about anything else. In a sea of games devoted to the zombie motif, however, a title such as this may not be quite so welcome. In order to stand out against games like Dead Island and Dead Nation, an IP has to have something that either makes it that much better or that much fresher. Let’s see what the team at Doublesix has to offer.
AZMD almost doesn’t take itself seriously, which makes it fresh and almost takes away the zombie motif, while still maintaining the standards of a post-apocalyptic lifestyle. The main character, Jack, is a devoted gamer who’s trying to stay alive and also keep his ex-girlfriend from becoming a "re-deceased." This overhead shooter presents a story about a video game, and it is referred as that by Jack during most of the game.
Throughout the game, Jack and his gang move from base to base by clearing out zombies in areas and holding themselves up in a key location, such as a police office or a news station. Once in a base, players can level each character individually, interact with each other, and customize weapons with parts earned from area-specific quests. These quests are required to go between most areas, since talking gates require it to prove that "you can handle what’s to come." Many areas also have specific and repeatable quests that can be done and redone for weapon parts, such as wood or loudspeakers; combining a phone and a loudspeaker makes for quite an interesting weapon.
The combat execution is simplistic, as a zombie game should be, granting full movement and aim by using both joysticks in a traditional fashion and using the triggers to strike or shoot zombies. Weapons can be customized, such as combining a shotgun and "paynekillers" to create a shotgun that returns health to the user. Parts for weapons can be "farmed" by doing quests for gate computers in each area. Apart from talking gates, the experience is fairly expected. This fact isn’t a downfall, for one reason: Jack thinks that the events portrayed within AZMD are in themselves a part of a plot in a video game. Jack spends most of his time trying to prove this to his allies, who try to dissuade him frequently. Point being: the removal of the horror element that frequents zombie games has granted AZMD a fighting chance, and a strong one at that. Doublesix has allowed its game to be something that doesn’t force the player to delve through a world where nothing is left and is filled with consequence. This team has created a game that allows the zombie element to be shown in a fashion that’s both enjoyable and easy to play without trying to make the game something it shouldn’t be.
Graphically, the game is nothing substantial, visualizing everything in a very comical sense. The game does not hiccup, and the controls are tight and responsive as the fingers using them. Sounds are appropriate, giving zombies their overzealous grumble and moan. The weapon sounds are a bit artificial, but the game experience doesn’t require anything as robust as authentic weapon sounds; though, I can’t account exactly the sound a cricket bat would make on a wave of zombies.
The only major fault to this game is the lack of full multiplayer functionality. The game supports local co-op but excludes online co-op. An added feature such as that would make quite a strong outing on a game that stands evenly on a good single player experience. Outside of that, and the occasional frustration at kamikaze volatile zombies that look like Psycho Mantis, the game doesn’t hold much against itself in terms of poor execution. This game is an enjoyable experience for one person to play, and much quicker with a compatriot sharing the couch.
AZMD gives itself a proper presentation that keeps it separated from the normal zombie motif while maintaining the glorious feel of overtaking hordes of undead that we all love. All Zombies Must Die doesn’t have much for replay value, but the initial playthrough will eat away at an afternoon.