I WROET A R3V13W A8OUT A GAM3 W1TH ZOMB1ES!!!1
What happens when you give the indie video game community the opportunity to make their own games and have them sold on Xbox Live? Look no further than I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMB1ES!!!1.
[image1]The first thing to know about ZOMB1ES is that it's an Xbox Live Indie Game developed by Jamezilla, costs $1 (80 Microsoft Points), and is based around a very straightforward gameplay mechanic. On the title screen, it sums the gameplay up as a twin-stick shooter, like Geometry Wars, and the game leads off from there.
The simple, no-frills 8-bit style is welcoming, as is the price, so if you're a newcomer to Xbox Live Indie Games, ZOMB1ES is the way to go. Of course, the game allows for up to four players locally, so you can bring some friends if you think ZOMB1ES are scary.
The real draw behind ZOMB1ES is its approachable gameplay. At the beginning, you have a simple machine gun with unlimited ammo. As you shred through the crowds of zombies and other baddies, power-ups like a invincibility shield, boosted speed, and extra lives drop. New weapons will also drop, and switching back and forth between weapons is key to surviving the hordes, so don't waste your powered-up machine gun, shotgun, flamethrower, and laser beam.
ZOMB1ES doesn't rest on its twin-stick shooter laurels, though, and throws lots of different enemies at you. You'll face hordes of zombies, then 8-bit snakes, then Geometry Wars-inspired diamond crawlers, then asteroids (straight out of Asteroids), and then back to zombies with bombs strapped to them. Leftover enemies stay on the screen well after the background has changed, so you have to clear out all the baddies no matter what. The 8-bit snakes in particular can be maddening, since you can only clear them off the board by hitting their heads. Then, when they die, they explode and freak me out worse than Cousin It.
[image2]The send-up of Geometry Wars is certainly appropriate, as ZOMB1ES takes much of its gameplay from it, but it's more important to think about what ZOMB1ES does differently. Gamers will quickly notice how the soundtrack accentuates the panic of large squads of zombies and other baddies crowding around the player. The background flashes and the music builds and enemies spawn all at once. This small community-created game pulls off this "aleatoric" sound design better than that of most retail games on Xbox 360.
Despite that advantageous use of music, the soundtrack sucks worse than your neighbor's garage band. In fact, it might actually be your neighbor's garage band. Repeating the title's name and sounding like a nasally Ozzy Osbourne don't help, either. The humor is obvious, but it wears pretty thin after the second or third round of playing. The music quickly morphs to fit the changing backgrounds, but make it through enough waves of enemies, and you'll quickly find yourself back in the garage. ZOMB1ES does well with the 360's custom soundtrack feature, so plug in your Zune or iPod and make it happen.
ZOMB1ES is a great example for marketable Xbox Live Indie Games, those which no publisher would (in their right mind) put on a disc and release it across multiple platforms. Yet there are plenty of people that should play ZOMB1ES. Like you.