There’s a trend that has permeated games for years now and it’s zombies, zombies, zombies. Over 9000 Zombies! is the latest in the zombie-filled video game world, but is it different enough to be refreshing?
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a top-down shooter featuring zombies exclusively. Over 9000 Zombies! fills that niche and does so with surprisingly addictive gameplay. With a twin-stick control scheme, players must survive in a sprawling town that sees zombies coming at them from all directions. Although there are buildings, each is full of openings meaning there’s nowhere safe to wait. Instead, you’ve got to make things secure by building up turrets and barriers to survive.
Living past the first few waves is nearly impossible unless you team up. In a smart decision, the Steam Early Access debut of Over 9000 Zombies! includes two player online multiplayer. Local co-op is coming, but unfortunately isn’t ready just yet. In either case, more guns are better when facing hordes of undead. Nabbing a good weapon or two is also imperative. There are dozens in all, although their spawns seem tied to specific waves. Weirdly, even after dying the game restarts you with your complete collection of weapons. This is probably not intentional though as it leads to an unfair advantage at the start of a new game.
Another good to collect on the field is scrap metal that zombies randomly drop from time to time. No, it doesn’t make sense why they’ve got it, but you need it to build turrets. Right now there are only a few turret types available, but each confers its own advantages. For example, there is a grenade launcher that blows up groups of zombies at a time. The con to this is that it’s a very slow device and has limited range. It’s up to the player to choose whichever work best for them. However, you can only build up to six turrets at any time, even if you have enough scrap for more. Scrap is also used to build barriers but these can be torn down easily by huge groups of zombies. The developers have stated an intent to allow for stronger scrap and upgrades in the future.
Over the series of waves players will encounter a handful of zombie types. There are your typical slow, fairly weak ones but they quickly disperse for more powerful enemies. An early stage forces you to fight against fire-breathing zombies, which is ridiculous but a fun challenge all the same. So far it seems that the variety of zombie types is pretty good (speed zombies, dogs, birds) although it might not be a bad idea to add more before launch. As it stands, facing waves of tough ones already lends well to strategic play. Coming up with plans to survive upcoming waves is entertaining and one way in which Over 9000 Zombies! distinguishes itself from more arcade style twin-stick shooters.
One great thing about the game is that it utilizes a pixel art aesthetic. Many Early Access games trundle along with unfortunate 3D designs and choppy animation, but there’s none of that to worry about here. The art is not as “bright” as other pixel games, but that fits with the theme of zombie apocalypse. Another bonus to the simplistic design is that it’s easy to read the field for incoming enemies. It also doesn’t cause any perceptible lag even as hundreds of zombie bodies, dead and undead, clog the field.
So far Over 9000 Zombies! is an immensely enjoyable game with some rough edges. As of right now there’s only a destroyed cityscape to venture into, very limited turret types, and no alternate game modes outside of survival. With that said, survival mode is great. Grabbing a buddy, jumping into an online match and braving wave after wave of shambling zombies is just that good. The ever-increasing difficulty provides copious hours of gameplay as well. Gamers who love a good tactical twin-stick shooter should feel confident to test out Over 9000 Zombies! right away.