Barry Steakfries is back, and his Japanese is still amazing.
Age of Zombies originally released as a PSP Mini in 2010 (then converted to PSN Mini just in case you wanted to play any of these on your PS3), and it was triumphed for its fun and fast-paced gameplay, humor, and over-the-top protagonist. However, the biggest complaint about the game was virtually the same across the board: This needs to be a twin-stick shooter. Halfbrick attempted this by porting it to iOS, but using directional buttons is far more preferable to maneuvering with virtual analog sticks. At long last, our wishes have come true with a Vita port. At last, we can finally control Barry Steakfries as he was meant to be manipulated—with physical twin analog sticks.
In case you're late to the Age of Zombies party, the game stars the gunslinging, smartmouthed Barry Steakfries who must travel through time to stop the zombie invasion Dr. Brains has unleashed in various eras. Barry visits the Stone Age, The Roaring Twenties, ancient Egypt, feudal Japan, and even the future to wipe out the zombie apocalypse. Each era has its brand of zombies, bosses, and voice-overs, so each level isn't completely the same as the one before it.
However, the goal of each level is the same: kill all the zombies as they swarm around Barry. At least Barry's pistol never runs out of ammo.
Halfbrick does provide a bit more to this iteration of the game. Sadly, they ported over the iOS version of the dialogue, so a good chunk of the original dialogue is missing. Most of this was lengthy and full of swearing, but it made me laugh and I greatly missed it, especially in the opening meeting between Barry and Dr. Brains. But they made up for this a bit with new weapons, such as the buzzsaw and the rifle, a few new perks, including a shield (so useful) and a hoverboard, and a whole extra level after the credits roll.
This new last level gave me the most problems. It's sadly obvious that the only way to beat the final boss in this world is by certain item pickups that need to drop at just the right time. Since each level load drops different items at different times, failure is inevitable until good luck dictates your item drops. I never once felt that way with any other level, and it's a shame this happens with the new one.
The Vita version also packs in a Survival mode for those who want to see how long Barry Steakfries can survive with one life. There are nine different maps to choose from, and the swarms do not stop coming. There are no breathers between waves, not even a pause to let you know a new wave has begun, so be sure to massage your hands before diving in. It's almost a guarantee that your hands will cramp up after playing for a few hours.
Age of Zombies is still rather short, even with the extra world packed in, but its brevity with each level makes it an ideal, portable pick-up-and-play game. Those who enjoy the frantic swarms of enemies that almost puts Smash TV to shame will enjoy keeping the walking dead alive with Survival mode. If you've already experienced Barry Steakfries' adventure once before, it's definitely worth picking up again with the perfected, physical controls.
Copy not provided by publisher. Review exclusive to Vita version.