Rail-gun shooter gone off the rails
Developed by FT Games, Zombie Frontier 4 is my first foray into the Zombie Frontier series. Initially, it piqued my interest by taking me on a nostalgia trip, but my interest quickly turned into disappointment. I’ll be delving into the details, but plainly said, Zombie Frontier 4 is too much of a mobile game. So, if you’re looking for an awesome Zombie game in your pocket, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
A trip down memory lane
Zombie Frontier 4 is very much like old on-rails shooters like Time Crisis and The House of the Dead. Railgun shooters are a dead subgenre of shooters, so it’s a bold design choice to make in the current year. A lot of the elements of the game are amalgamations of classic Zombie-based franchises. The world aesthetic is like The Walking Dead, and a couple of enemies are pretty much imports from Resident Evil. Zombie Frontier 4 has its’ own version of the Lickers and another enemy similar to RE4’s Type C Plaga.
Missions in Zombie Frontier 4 place you in a set area and you can’t move until every zombie is dead. Sort of. More of that later. Besides the standard missions, there are also sniper missions and tower defense missions with a machinegun to change up the pace.
Zombie Frontier 4 has a lot of ads. The game is constantly throwing offers in your face and trying to get you to buy something. And yes, I understand that the developers need to make money, but people just want to play games without constant interruption.
What makes it even worse is just how excessively monetized everything is in this game. There are two types of currencies in this game: cash and gold. You primarily earn cash by completing missions (And by watching ads, who would’ve guessed), and gold is the premium currency that you’ll rarely get without spending real money.
Cash and gold are needed for many things in this game, including upgrading and purchasing weapons and equipment. Two other notable items are cloth and plastic beads, which you use to upgrade equipment. And these feel so incredibly unnecessary, like isn’t it enough to buy the items? It’s ironic that you use cloth and plastic beads to pad your equipment and make them more durable. After all, the whole system feels like padding to make the game seem like it has more depth.
Another thing about this game that feels very out of place is the Pass Card, which is basically a Battle Pass. Why on earth is there a Battle Pass in a railgun shooter?
All the best equipment in the game is completely paywalled, and you’re going to need to grind a ton to access them. Once you have access to them, you can upgrade them using cash and or gold, but there’s a caveat; at later levels, there is a significant cooldown period before the upgrade finishes. And how can you skip this cooldown period? By using gold, of course.
Decent Gunplay ruined by Bad Leveling System
So, the game has too many ads and has monetization up the wazoo. Is the gameplay good, at least? Yes and no. The guns look and sound good, and enemies aren’t bullet spongey. Moving the targeting reticle from side to side is a bit sluggish, though, and is a recurring problem with Mobile FPS games.
Another big problem is the game randomly moving you during a couple of segments before you’ve killed every zombie. Every time this happened, it threw off my targeting and made me waste ammo. Not helping is the game’s tendency to throw jump scares at you. Sometimes, after switching sections, a zombie will pop up and hit you before you even have a chance to react.
What ruins the gunplay in this game is the weapon leveling system. Weapons have power levels, and every mission has a level requirement. If your gun fails to meet this requirement, a mission is harder or impossible to beat.
To get over this hurdle, you need to grind earlier levels over and over to get the cash to upgrade your guns. Then you need to wait out the cooldown period for the upgrades to finish. And did I mention there’s an energy system? So even grinding has a cooldown period.
Too much Mobile not enough Gaming
Zombie Frontier 4 happens when a developer puts money first, second, and third, and game design last. If Zombie Frontier 4 were a traditional railgun shooter with a $5 price tag, it would be a fun time for me. But as it is now, it’s not enough of a railgun shooter and a bad mobile game to boot.
Is It Hardcore?
Is It Hardcore?
When people look down on mobile gaming, titles like Zombie Frontier 4 are why. Excessive and ridiculous monetization and atypical mobile game design choices prevented me from enjoying the game at all.