A couple of years ago I probably would have enjoyed Zombie Diary: Survival a heck of a lot more than I do now. Unfortunately, the forces of time and my own changing tastes have conspired against it, and I’m left instead to write a review of a game that almost made it. There’s plenty to like here – fun visuals and a decently addictive unlock system topping the list – but overall, there’s better zombie-slaying fun to be had elsewhere on the Play Store.
As with a lot of zombie war-related games, your murderous adventure starts on an overworld map. It consists of four levels: Street, prison, laboratory, and cemetery. As you progress throughout the “story” (collections of challenges called “days” in the game), more challenges unlock, giving you more to do, more cash to earn, and most importantly, more zombies to slaughter.
Unfortunately, the “days” mark my first real problem with Zombie Diary: Survival: Everything feels the same. Whether you’re tasked with killing X amount of zombies or asked to survive an onslaught for Y number of seconds, you’re still walking in one direction and mashing a button, occasionally stopping to reload if you buy a gun from the in-game store. While new enemy types do make things more interesting when they appear (I particularly enjoyed Zombie With a Cooking Pot On His Head), they quickly grow old, too, leaving you to do the same old thing over and over.
Fortunately, the game goes a long way towards redeeming itself with a comprehensive unlock/upgrade system, which features a metric buttload of guns, characters, powerups, and even mechs – you heard that right, mechs – to spice up your walk-forward-and-shoot adventure. If you have the cash (or don’t mind downloading apps and such to earn extra), buying a new gun or personal mechanized defensive system is a perfect way to jumpstart the gameplay.
Even better, developer Mountain Lion has gone with a decidedly non-selfish route with its freemium gameplay, adopting an ad-supported model to make up for those of us who are too broke or too cheap (consider me both) to buy in-game currency. While I don’t necessarily want to cough up five bucks to fully enjoy a game, I know a developer’s gotta eat, and I don’t mind downloading another free app or two to earn the cash that buys me my munitions. The system works well in other big-name Android titles – Monster Shooter II, for instance – and it’s just as helpful for the tightwads among us here.
A So-So Slaying Adventure
I won’t say Zombie Diary: Survival is bad because, well, it isn’t. The graphics are good, the mechanics is okay (to a point), and the unlock system does wonders to improve an otherwise boring gameplay experience. Will you like it? That’s up for you to decide, of course – for me, it’ll probably end up in the pile of games I play for review purposes and never look at again. Not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily. There’s just a lot better to be had out there, and I’m pretty darn demanding in my nerdy tastes. Check it out if you like zombies, guns, and/or murdering… worst case, you can put it down the same way I did.