Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition Review

by on March 1, 2011

Game: Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition

Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team

Publisher: Chillingo

Available on: iPad Only

Have you ever sat back, watching your favourite zombie film, and wished you could just boot a football into their groaning, smug, faces? No? A lot of people probably haven’t either but that didn’t stop Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team from making a game where you can do just that. Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition is the HD version of an iPhone game that has been out for a while now and allows the player to attempt to save a world infested with zombies with just some well aimed kicks of a football.

Does the iPad version of Pro Zombie Soccer offer more than just better graphics and smoother gameplay? Is it better or worse than the iPhone version that people have already had the chance to play? Is kicking a football into a zombie’s head, making it pop like an overinflated balloon, just as satisfying as it sounds?

STORY: The fact that Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition had a storyline at all is the first thing that impresses you, with it being primarily a casual game. It’s a story about a world that is no more, a world that’s infested by zombies. Basically it’s the same story as the other ten thousand zombie stories, but there’s a twist. You play as Jax, an ace on the football field, and when the world turns upside down you’re tasked with doing what you know best, kicking a football, in order to take down as many of the undead as you can.You make your way through a variety of different levels and areas with an ever increasing amount of zombies heading your way.

At different points in the game the story will kick in (if you’ll pardon the pun) and the gameplay will change slightly. You might have to attack a certain zombie that’s important to the story, or save a character, but basically you’re advancing the main storyline instead of mindlessly attempting to beat a score, which is a nice addition to a casual game. Most of the story is told through still images with the words overlaid which gives the game a nice comic book feel which, overall, has a positive effect on the aesthetics of the entire game.

PZS:AE - Shuffling Zombies

Zombie Apocalypse - The only time when "kick the ball hard" is a good sentence.

GRAPHICS: Visually speaking, Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition sticks to the tried and true method of sprite based graphics, meaning that the game maintains a comic book style to it all the way through. While this might initially sound like a bad thing depending on your point of view, the comic book visuals help to give the game a sense of fun. If Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition had realistic visuals, considering the fact that it’s a game based around killing zombies, it wouldn’t have gone down nearly as well with the audience it’s aimed at. As it stands the graphics fit well with the tone of the game and the cutscenes help to tell the story in an interesting and visually appealing way.

In regards to the higher definition that this iPad version of the game offers, Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition certainly takes the amount of screen space offered and uses it well with the sprites looking crisp, sharp and well suited to the high definition display of the device. It’s definitely not up there with the likes of Infinity Blade and the recently released Dead Space iOS games, but it fits the game well and helps to maintain a clear view of exactly who the target audience is.

SOUND: The audio in Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition is what everybody has come to expect from a portable game. It’s there, it’s good enough, but it’s not to the same level as what you’d expect from a console game. The sound effects start to get a little tedious quite quickly but the auditory indication that you’ve just gotten three headshots in a row, a little announcer voice that says “HAT TRICK!”, is reminiscent of the glory days of Quake multiplayer.

PZS: AE - Lightning

Typical football player, assuming they have the power of gods.

The music, however, is good. There are plenty of tracks available so you never really get bored listening to the same one over and over again. Also, a nice little added bonus, is the addition of a music player in the ‘Extras’ menu. With this option, if there was a particular piece of music that your preferred over the others, then you could play it whenever you wanted.

GAMEPLAY: When starting up Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition for the first time, the first thing that was obvious was the influence from Plants Vs. Zombies. Not only because of the zombie aspect in both games but because your character stays on the left hand side of the screen and the zombies come from the right. In both games the objective of the game is to defeat the oncoming horde of the undead before they reach you by using objects that you wouldn’t expect to be using against an army of zombies. In Plants Vs. Zombies those were the plants, in Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition the weapon of choice is Jax’s trusty football, along with his skills.

Given that the main gameplay mechanic is simply kicking a football in the direction of the oncoming zombies, you’d expect the game to be very simple, and for the most part it is! The subtle complexity comes in the fact that there’s more than one type of zombie. There are zombies that can only be killed with a headshot, some that can only be killed with a powered shot (where you hold the button down until the ball has powered up and then let go) and some zombies that continue coming for you despite you taking their heads off with a well aimed strike. As the player you’re constantly forced to change your tactics based on which zombies are coming towards you and at what speed. This constant switching forces the player to stay on their toes. You never know when a massive horde might be around the corner, and you need to be ready for them.

Just in case you get to the point where you can manage the sheer amount of zombies shuffling towards you, about half way through the game civilians start running across the screen and you’re meant to avoid them. Hit any of them once and they instantly die, losing you the round and forcing you to start that level all over again, the easiest way to deal with this threat is to use the satellite power-up, one of the 3 power-ups that are available in Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition. This power-up only targets the zombies and blasts them into a millions pieces. Satisfaction guaranteed.

PZS: AE - Boom Space Shot!

You've not finished making a game until you've got space lasers in it somewhere.

As with other Chillingo games, Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition comes with Crystal integrated directly into it. This gives the player the ability to unlock achievements as they progress through the game and complete with their friends over the Crystal network. This features adds a nice way to increase the potential life of the game for most players, just like Xbox LIVE does for Xbox 360 games, giving the player the opportunity to compete with their friends to get better and better achievements as well as bragging about those all important high scores.

LONGEVITY: When talking about longevity in regards to a game that can only really be described as a casual game, you’re really talking about whether or not the gameplay gets boring or repetitive. A casual game can only really last as long as it can hold the interest of the player. In that respect Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition has a fairly good longevity if it’s only played in short bursts.

The gameplay mechanic gets a little boring after more than 3 levels but that can be said about most casual games. If you play Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition for a level or two at a time then you’ll probably find yourself coming back for more quite often. It’s fun to smash zombie skulls in with a football, and even more fun to see the “Headshot!” notification come up.

VERDICT: Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition is a game that’s worthwhile if you’re playing for only a few levels at a time, it’s not really something that can be played for longer periods as the gameplay can get a little bit frustrating and mildly mundane after a while. The main gameplay mechanic is fun in short bursts and the story is well thought through and executed.

The biggest problem with Pro Zombie Soccer: Apocalypse Edition is that because the game is only really fun for a level or two at a time it’s the perfect game for a device which is a little more portable, such as the iPhone. The gameplay itself is well executed but there’s more fun to be had on the iPhone version of the game than this HD version for the iPad.

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