Zombie Wonderland in Review – Need some undead guts cleaned up?

So what would happen if one day John Gore of Minigore (TMA Review) fame woke up and decided to go zombie hunting? I’m pretty sure you’d end up with Zombie Wonderland. With the whole “protect the building” scenario ripped right from the Evil Dead movies, and a main character whose witty comments could rival those of the master zombie slayer Ash himself, Zombie Wonderland is an amusing jaunt in the zombie killing genre that actually works quite well, despite not being a line drawing, dual stick wielding or 3D person perspective action game.

So what exactly is Zombie Wonderland then? It’s a “zombie disposal simulation” much like Zombie Recycling (TMA Review), but instead of directly controlling Chuck, you click on the zombies you wish to eliminate. You have four different locations to protect for five days apiece, and the end of each day is signified by the crowing of the zombie rooster. Initially this will be a fairly easy task, but as the location changes you’ll have more areas to guard, the zombies will come at you more quickly and frequently, and new kinds of zombies will be introduced to give you more grief. Oh, and zombie guts on the premises are not allowed, so if you shoot a zombie inside the “safe” zone you have to clean up the mess. There is a survival mode as well, which lets you play any of the locations you’ve beaten in story mode for as long as you can until you’ve been overrun by zombies. It’s sort of like Chuck’s last stand.

There are four types of zombies that will try and mess with you, the worst of which is the granny zombie. She’s cute but deadly, and it’s imperative that you’re not right next to her window when she screams. From time to time you’ll get upgrades to help you. Boards will keep unguarded windows blocked while you’re tending to zombies in other places, while the machine gun can take down zombies while you’re tied up somewhere else. Everything comes at a cost, however. For instance, boards actually have to be applied to the windows, and you can’t shoot at anything while you’re putting them up. The machine gun can be broken, and while you can fix it, you’ll once again be out of commission for a time.

Controlling Chuck mostly involves tapping. Tap a zombie to shoot it, tap the hammer icon repeatedly to put up boards, tap the machine gun to pick up and place it. The only non tap-oriented tasks are cleanup, which requires you to swipe up and down on a slider until the mess is taken care of, and rotating the view, which is done by dragging your finger around the premises. At first it seems like each of these extraneous things takes away from the game flow, but that’s really the whole point. How well can you manage zombie disposal and the rest of your tasks at the same time?

The graphics are pretty decent. The locations look cool, with nice little touches like a juke box in the diner or a water cooler in the garage. The characters look good and are well animated, though at certain angles the zombies look a bit disjointed (I suppose it’s the jaundice kicking in). I’m also not real fond of the flame effect for the flamies – I think it looks more cheesy than cool.

The sound effects are a nice compliment to the visuals. Here’s a developer that understands that zombies are supposed to groan, and I love it when grannie zombie screams. The comments that Chuck makes are amusing as well. The music also does a good job of setting a creepy and hectic mood. Overall the audio is quite well done.

My main suggestion would be to have a couple more locations in story mode. I’m not a big fan of the “play with no goals” survival modes, and there’s not a lot of replay on the story side once you’ve completed it. Still, Zombie Wonderland is a nice departure from the typical zombie slaying game, and it’s quite fun and hectic for as long as the story mode lasts.

App Summary
Title: Zombie WonderlandDeveloper: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver:1.1Min OS Req:3.1.3
Price:$0.99App Size:43.9 MB
  • Cool game mechanics
  • Nice visuals
  • Fun music
  • Witty comments from Chuck
  • Only 4 locations

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