Published on June 18th, 2013 | by James Christy1
Green Force: Zombies Review
Green Force: Zombies is a first-person zombie shooter for Android. That description alone should be enough to make you wary. Aside from the fact that zombie-themed shooters are a dime a dozen, getting first person controls right for the touchscreen is a minefield. A straightforward first-person shooter with free-roam and responsive controls is a rare thing for the platform, but Modern Combat and Dead Trigger managed it (the latter with a zombie theme to boot), so there’s no reason to believe it impossible. If Green Force: Zombies was the only game of its type I had ever played, I would not feel this way.
What initially struck me most about Green Force: Zombies is how unfriendly it is to a new player. Choosing the first mission in story mode, I was given a hasty set of objectives in the loading screen (find some key, open some lab with said key, survive) but as soon as the game started I was on my own. Immediately beset by charging zombies, I had to guess how the controls worked. It took two lives before I figured out how to move around, and three before I learned to shoot properly. To have a “first level” of a game that throws you into the thick of it without any idea of how to even move is pretty poor form.
The controls themselves are similarly counterintuitive. Moving around is easy enough but aiming is just a huge pain in the ass, even with the optional sight. Instead of tight, responsive aim like you get in Dead Trigger, you’re constantly forced to compensate for an overambitious reticule. The thing bounces around the screen past your targets, seeming to stop of its own free will. If this is supposed to be for the sake of realism, I’ll take fantasy any day. Also, headshots register but don’t seem to take the heads off the zombies. What kind of zombie shooter doesn’t have exploding heads?
The zombies just spawn randomly around you, sometimes appearing out of the blue. As far as variety: there are zombies that run, and zombies that walk. The running ones will sometimes run slower than their animation suggests, as if they’re stuck on a treadmill. Judging by the two or three skins, it seems every single zombie is former military. True to form, they drop health or ammo, but good luck picking stuff up before it disappears. For whatever reason, running over these drops doesn’t register unless you’re super precise about it, which is near-impossible thanks to the god-awful controls.
The graphics are decent although I could make out cracks in the seams of some objects and the textures are pretty muddy. The music is one boring piano tune repeated from the menu. Aside from a brief intro with fairly professional voice work, the only real sound you get is from your gun and an effect that tells you when you pick up drops. Zombies don’t even moan (probably out of embarrassment). What sort of zombie shooter doesn’t have… oh, nevermind.
Anyway, it’s the first mission and I’m in a cityscape. I can run around freely, but there’s not much to see. Aside from the zombies, there’s nothing to the atmosphere that suggests a zombie apocalypse. Everything is bare and clean, with no sign of past struggle or devastation, as if the city always had zombies and I was the intruder. Oh wait, my mistake, there are a few cement highway dividers in the middle of the street over there, behind which are invisible walls. How did these zombies get in here with all these invisible walls? I call shenanigans.
So I find the key, floating in an alleyway with a magical blue aura around it. I futz around for a minute before I finally pick up the stupid thing (same issue as with health and ammo). The aura doesn’t disappear after I grab the key, it just lingers in the air stupidly. Immersive. Now where the hell is that lab? No help from the game. No time to think, either, there are zombies afoot. Maybe it’s up those stairs… nope, another invisible barrier. I bounce around Green Force: Zombies’ first-level purgatory for another ten minutes before I say screw it, let’s try Survival mode. Oh, there’s a full breakdown of the game’s control scheme displayed on the Survival mode loading screen. Where were you at beginning of the review?
Survival mode is better, but not by much. You get a chance to practice the atrocious controls, and the difficulty seems to be scaled better as there are only walking zombies to deal with. Clear a room and a button for the next wave appears, letting you decide when to start again. Alternately, you can play Turbo survival mode, which just spawns zombies as fast as you can kill them. After awhile, I started to get better with the Sisyphean aiming, to the point that the game was too easy. After 30 waves, I’m still dealing with the same boring enemies in the same boring room, the biggest threat being that I don’t pick up ammo in time. I look up from my screen and have an existential crisis.
Supposedly there’s a multiplayer mode on the way, but I don’t really care. This game is soul crushing, and not in a good/masochistic way like Dark Souls. It’s the kind of game that makes me want to renounce gaming. survival mode shows signs of promise, but in its current incarnation it’s just a waste of time. Download Dead Trigger instead, or Into the Dead, or hell, Plants vs. Zombies for all I care. Just steer clear of this one.
Summary: I'm foregoing a summary, I'm that upset.