Nov 14, 2011

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Zombieville USA 2 Review

Zombieville USA 2 Review

Zombieville USA 2 is the eagerly awaited sequel to one of the best selling games on the iOS store to date.  The original was a simple side scroller with upgradeable weapons and different characters to choose from differing in skills.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed Mika Mobile’s Battleheart, Zombieville USA didn’t do it for me and I was immediately turned off at how repetitive it felt.  It was hard to ignore how successful and popular the franchise was though, with it’s sequel jumping to number one within days of it’s release.  I decided to give in and download the highly rated app hoping that they were able to keep my attention unlike the first one, but did Mika Mobile succeed?

Zombieville USA 2 is once again a side-scrolling shooter but this time you have the ability to move vertically as opposed to just horizontally.  Players must survive unlimited waves of zombies until their timers run out and then must flee to a chopper in the nick of time.  Along the way there are about a half-dozen different types of zombies attempting to kill you, each varying in pattern.  Some zombies shoot projectiles while others try to kamikaze you.  Luckily, there are tons of different weapons at your disposal along with different skills you can purchase and upgrade.  Unfortunately, aside from the default weapons everything must be purchased in the store.  This isn’t a major concern though because each level is littered with money along with ammo crates so the thrill of unlocking better gear easily pushes players forward.  Upon being rescued, scores are tallied up, the player can outfit themselves accordingly, and they can once again deploy themselves in one of the many different levels.  As with the first title, there isn’t a plot, but attempting to shoehorn one in would most likely have hurt the game more then help it.  Killing zombies and getting better gear is a good enough reason to continue on.

Controls are simple enough with a virtual thumbstick (or wheel I guess) on the left side of the screen and three colored buttons controlling weapons on the right.  There hardly were any issues with triggering weapons and the buttons themselves don’t impair your vision but controlling movement became irritating at times.  You may not have an issue with the control wheel at first but it’s very easy to lose control and have your player stop dead in his tracks while you’re being pursued by the undead.  I and my friend both recall shouting in frustration at how badly the wheel controlled but thankfully Mika Mobile quickly released a patch making movement less of an issue.  There still were times when control was off, but overall the experience was smoothed out as was most of the bugs.

The biggest reason to continue playing is obviously the upgrades and different gear you can outfit your character with.  There are approximately two dozen different characters to choose from and though they are merely superficial, it’s a very decent selection.  The weapons themselves are varied and can complement any type of playstyle you’d want to employ.  Flashbangs, flamethrowers, magnums, RPGs, and shotguns only scratch the surface with what’s locked in your arsenal and it’ll take hours upon hours to unlock and upgrade every item the game has.  Different skills carry different effects and while most may not appear to do much from the get go, a couple upgrades can mean the difference depending on what is equipped.  The various combinations become more crucial with the extremely fun cooperative mode.  You and a partner can take on the zombie onslaught over wi-fi or bluetooth and games even support chat.  Though not every zombie game improves with MP (RE:5), Zombieville USA 2 is definitely a more fun experience playing with a buddy.

Not all is well though in Zombieville USA 2.  As I stated before, the control wheel may be improved from it’s unupdated version, but it still has it’s issues and can lead to some frustrating deaths.  Also, while the multiplayer is incredibly fun, disconnects were frequent along with some noticeable lag.  This isn’t an issue with bluetooth and wasn’t enough to deter us from playing, but the fact that it’s still present is upsetting.  Even though I’m enjoying the game much more then it’s predecessor, the game is still virtually the same and may grow repetitive quickly.  Each level increases the amount of enemies that are thrown at players but aside from a different backdrop, they’re exactly the same just slighly harder.  By far though, one of the most frustrating things was that after all of the hard work players may put in to their characters, out of nowhere their saves are deleted along with every achievement they’ve earned.  This happened to me twice after a few hours each time but apparently the patch has fixed the issue.  I haven’t lost my data since but I can’t speak for every device out there.

Though the game can be repetitive and frustrating at times, it’s enjoyability can’t be denied.  I lost my data twice yet created new characters and wasn’t really discouraged by the experience.  Mika Mobile was quick to apologize about the issue and has already patched the game and even released a new character.  I’m sure that without introducing any new game modes or anything major, Zombieville USA 2 will become stale in a few months, but as is it’s definitely worth the 99 cents.  Not a perfect game, but one well worth your time.

Zombieville USA 2
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (req iOS 4.0 or later)
Genre: Shooting
Release Date: Nov 4, 2011
Developer: Mika Mobile
Publisher: Mika Mobile
ESRB Rating: 9+
MSRP: $ 0.99