Home > Apps, Gaming, iPhone, Reviews > “NY Zombies” iPhone Review

“NY Zombies” iPhone Review

The first-person shooter genre is hard to pull off on the iPhone. When it comes to moving, the onscreen “virtual stick” never works perfectly, and aiming is always accomplished through some imprecise method, be it tilting the iPhone or using another virtual stick. As a result, the best FPS games on the iPhone find a way to work around the limitations of the platform and provide something unique. NY Zombies is one of these rare titles – a good FPS on the iPhone.

What sets it apart? First and foremost are the controls: instead of worrying about running around an environment and wrestling with the unavoidably bad controls that would result in, NY Zombies plants the player firmly in one spot while the undead masses of New York City move toward them. Puzzlingly, it is always out in the open where the zombies provide a threat no matter where you turn… (if I was in the same situation, I would probably stand against a wall), but this nevertheless adds to the fun and challenge of this highly enjoyable app.

The story behind the campaign is told only in the level selection screen. You pick a level, and a journal entry pops up, telling part of the main character’s story through zombie-infested New York. It’s standard zombie affair – he sets out to look for missing loved ones, hoping they haven’t been infected, later finding more survivors to team up with, only for them to later turn into zombies themselves… nothing you haven’t seen before. It starts getting interesting towards the end though, to the point that I sincerely wanted to know what would happen next as I read it. However, the story feels very separated from the actual gameplay. Nothing going on in the story really relates to what’s going on in the levels, and this creates some inconsistencies at certain points. For example, one journal entry has the main character complaining about the lack of other survivors, even though in each level you save at least half a dozen of these brainless idiots by letting them run straight into you (usually entering your line of fire in the process). When I save the survivors, what happens to them? Do they just vanish?

That aside, the light-gun gallery gameplay of NY Zombies is very solid. Every level lets you earn cash for each zombie you blast away, so that at the start of the next one you can choose to spend it on new weapons and upgrades. At the beginning of the game, it’s important that you make smart investments in specific things, as some of the levels are many times more difficult to beat without them. In one instance, the lights go out of the apartment you’re holed up in, and unless you have a flare at the ready, your crucial minimap is unusable. Part of the reason NY Zombies succeeds so well is because the levels force you to not only be on your toes defending yourself from 360 degrees of monsters, but also because they require you to make smart decisions about what you spend your money on. That is, until the final handful of levels where you’re earning so much money that you don’t know what to do with it all, but then the levels are fun for a whole different reason – you’re loaded with fun-to-use weapons against the increasing number of enemies. If anything bad can be said about the weapons, it’s that sometimes they can be hard to use with your thumb obscuring the screen. I do realize, however, that this is more of the iPhone’s fault rather than the actual game’s.

While the basic core of the gameplay is unchanged in every level, the steady introduction of new enemy types and your increasingly large arsenal of weapons keeps things feeling fresh. Fresh enough, I might add, that I was able to play this game for extended periods of time without getting bored – something that I can say about only a few iPhone games.

As far as the presentation goes, it’s impressive considering the fact that this the debut game from a four-man development team. The music is atmospheric, and the menus are on par with the big-budget and big-name apps out there. The graphics are not quite at that same level, but they work just fine. The dark lighting does a great job of actually making the zombies scary, which is something that even the Call of Duty zombie game couldn’t pull off on the iPhone.

If you’re not normally one to take chances on games from little known developers, NY Zombies should be the game you break that habit with. It offers the same level of thrills as some of the big-name iPhone games (if not even more), and the lengthy campaign combined with the Endless mode will give you more than enough bang for your buck. NY Zombies is highly recommended.

Pros: One of the finest FPS experiences on the iPhone, fun-to-use weapons, levels that force you to think, great use of lighting, an increasingly interesting story

Cons: Some inconsistencies with the story and the actual levels in the campaign, graphical slowdown shows up every now and then

Final Score: 9 out of 10

By Josh60502

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