Begin the Uprising
Don Zombie is a zombie hunter, ready to rid the world of the onslaught of brain-eaters. That’s about all I could gather as far as plot goes since there’s no story or setup. I found myself wondering how this crazy outbreak occurred in the first place. I didn’t know who these enemies or bosses were, why they were there, or what they wanted from me, other than to eat my face off. There’s no explanation of why the dead have come back. Was it a virus? A toxic waste leak? Eventually, I stopped wondering and just enjoyed the ride. On the outset of his adventure, Don immediately displays his intentions: “The dead…I’m coming for them,” he then proceeds to quote Tombstone by adding, “and Hell’s coming with me!”
The tongue-in-cheek humor got me excited for some mass zombie slaughter. Developer No Six Five’s new side-scrolling action platformer doesn’t disappoint. Don Zombie starts in a burial ground, where you will spend all of Act One. The game consists of eight days per each of its six Acts, with a boss fight on the last day. After completing each Act, you can also participate in some optional challenges—such as slaughtering as many zombies as possible within the allotted time—for gold and item rewards.
Locked and Loaded
Don begins with only one weapon, a competent M16, but soon has the chance to acquire additional inventory by completing levels and progressing through the game. You can also unlock certain weapons early by spending a large number of rupees, and some can even be tried out before unlocking to see if you like it. I loved giving the various weapons a test drive.
The gameplay and arsenal of weaponry are where Don Zombie shines. After the completion of each level, you will receive a chest which will include some gold and rupees for upgrades. The levels are very short, and it’s relatively easy to blast through one in less than forty-five seconds, making the game move rather quickly.
Content is king here. In addition to chests at the end of every level, you will also receive items called boosters halfway through each Act that supplement items such as bulletproof vests, tanks, and drones, which can aid you in your brain-blasting journey.
All of the aforementioned sounds great in theory but means nothing if the game isn’t fun. Luckily, Don Zombie delivers in almost every area. The cell-shaded graphics reminded me of The Wind Waker’s aesthetic and visual appeal while the level design showed glimpses of Ghosts and Goblins. The game ran smoothly on my phone with no noticeable lag, even with a large number of zombies gathering on-screen. I had a blast equipping my Ak-47 and shotgun, running through the horde while they closed in from all directions.
How Far Can You Go?
Don Zombie’s low difficulty is where the game falters. Although it delivers a certain level of challenge, I found it just too darn easy. You will be rated by a star system for your battle performance at the end of each level, with three stars being the highest attainable. I rarely got anything below that, and I never received a one-star rating. The closest I came was during some of the boss battles. It was the only occasion I felt some difficulty manifest, but there needed to be an evened-out level of challenge. For the duration of each Act, I was breezing through enemies with ease. And then bam! I was hit with a boss and a considerable upswing in difficulty.
Aside from the few drawbacks I’ve mentioned, Don Zombie is an enjoyable action side-scroller with enough content to keep the player engaged. The game is free with no paywall pitfalls, so why not give a try? One last bit of advice: seek out the Tesla gun as early as possible and begin incinerating those brain suckers with proton pack streams of electricity, Peter Venkman style. Pow!
Is it Hardcore?
Yes, it is
Enter a zombie-infested world and blast your way through a slew of enemies’ intent on making you their next main course.