Alive 4-ever RETURNS in Review – Still alive and kicking…

Dual-stick shooters are popular at the AppStore with titles suitable for almost any taste. Mindless fans adore Minigore (TMA Review) and iDracula – Undead Awakening; while mature, story-loving fans may prefer the stylish Garters & Ghouls (TMA Review) or the addictive Guerrilla Bob (TMA Review). In 2009, the smart-looking, deep RPG-shooter, Alive 4-ever (TMA Review) wowed us. And now it RETURNS, bigger, bloodier and more gorgeous than ever.

Alive 4-ever RETURNS is a zombie-themed dual-stick shooter in many ways true to the original. It has been about a month since the virus was first set free in Nefount City and the authorities have just arrested Dr. Lederman and extradited him to the US. Unfortunately there has been an accident and the ship has sunk somewhere around a small island off the coast of California. A handful of survivors unaffected by the original outbreak now have to find a way to leave the island in the hopes of salvation on the mainland from the hordes of hideous monsters. But what will they find there?

One of the main features of Alive 4-ever RETURNS that make it stand out of the crowd is the mission-based gameplay. The campaign consists of 40 missions designed to take about 2 – 7 minutes each making it perfect for on-the-go playing. Each mission has a main mission goal and an additional challenge one, completing which unlocks new weapons and/or equipment in the shop. The goals are quite varied and may range from surviving for a set amount of time or killing x number of enemies to collecting gold/vaccines and rescuing survivors.

For zombie-destruction mayhem you can choose one of four characters to play, each with his/her own strengths and weaknesses.  The game features a basic RPG system with 4 abilities you can assign points to on a levelup – Max HP bonus, Critical hit chance, Weapon Damage and Clip size. In addition special skills are unlocked on hitting certain levels, making for some additional tactics available. On the equipment side you can buy various weapons and gear in the shop. The characters have only two weapon slots – a sidearm with unlimited ammo and a main weapon. The arsenal is quite impressive and almost everybody will be able to find one suited to his style – be it a weak but quick firing SMG or a massively damaging grenade launcher. The additional gear gives various bonuses, like slightly increased heal rate or decreased weapon reload time and you can have up to 3 pieces equipped at any time.

And where would a dual-stick shooter be without hordes of nasties? Here Alive 4-ever RETURNS has zombies-a-plenty. From the icky zombie worms to the bloated kamikazes to the ugly spitting ones – all drawn in gorgeous hideousness. The graphics style is supremely done with blood all round and very little light to show the way. And here arises my main issue with Alive 4-ever RETURNS – with all of the effort gone into painting the world and zombies with red and black it’s hard to distinguish them from the surrounding area. I’m not sure where this is a design decision, but it makes for quite a bit of frustration. Interface-wise the game is almost flawless. My only suggestion would be to add a bit of more tap-and-drag action to the equipment menus.

Alive 4-ever RETURNS makes for a solid followup to an already outstanding original and brings together fans of mindless zombie destruction and adepts of the deeper RPG style shooter. While some may find the game’s choice of colours frustrating making hard to distinguish zombiews from the background others may argue that this just adds to the atmosphere. Regardless this is a perfectly balanced and nicely polished bit of bloody mayhem that is sure to give you hours upon hours of fun.

With this I declare Alive 4-ever RETURNS officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Alive 4-ever RETURNSDeveloper: Meridian
Reviewed Ver:1.1Min OS Req:2.2.1
Price:$1.99App Size:65.3 MB
  • Balanced mission-based gameplay
  • Wide array of weapons and equipment
  • Fitting RPG system
  • Multiplayer
  • Nice variety of mission goals
  • Difficult to distinguish enemies from the background
  • Only local multiplayer
  • The out-of-game menus could be optimized a bit for the iPhone

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