There’s a chance you missed All Zombies Must Die!, no relation to All Orcs Must Die!, since it came out at a fairly strange time for a zombie game. If you haven’t checked it out or aren’t familiar with it, this is a zombie shoot ’em up with a cartoony art style, some light RPG elements, and 4-player co-op.
I used to think there could never be too many zombie arcade games out there, but the influx of mediocre to bad ones that have come out lately is starting to change my mind. Where does All Zombies Must Die place in the growing market of games that let you commit zombie genocide with your friends? Let’s find out. The Baby Factor: If Dead Island knocked up Zombie Apocalypse, All Zombies Must Die would be their only mildly retarded offspring.
All that sounds great on paper, but it really wasn’t executed as well as it should’ve been. For starters, the issue that’s going to prove the most detrimental to this game’s success is the lack of any online co-op. The aforementioned co-op is sadly limited to local play only, and this begs the question: what the fuck were they thinking? There’s a ton of cooperative zombie arcade games out there, including (but not limited to) Konami’s Zombie Apocalypse series, Dead Block, Burn Zombie Burn!, and Dead Nation.
Most of its competition has online multiplayer, but this game does not. Instead, if you want to play this with your friends you’re going to play on the same console. This is strange since the game was built with co-op in mind, so not giving players the option to play your multiplayer game online seems like a pretty glaring omission on developer Doublesix’s side, but hey, no one’s judging here. Oh wait, this is review, so I totally am.
It’s not all bad however, as All Zombies Must Die brings with it drop-in/drop-out functionality, so if you ever do have people over for that strange custom where humans interact with other humans in the real world, they can join in on the fun without disrupting your flow. But again, I feel I should emphasize how awfulthe idea was to not include online functionality.
In case you’re one of those crazy folks who value things like interesting stories or characters, you definitely won’t find either of that here. There is a story, and after beating the game I know it has to do with a zombie apocalypse that takes place in the town of Deadhill. Yeah, that’s about all I know, because in the end it doesn’t really matter. The characters are about as thin, but they do answer a question I’ve had since I was young, and that’s if an alien fought with a zombie, who would win? The answer proves to be overwhelmingly in favor of the alien, as I saw myself mowing down dozens, nay, thousands of zombies. There’s also three other characters: Jack, his ex-girlfriend Rachel, a scientist names Bryan, and Luxo, the extraterrestrial asskicker.
In case you didn’t gather this from the screenshots, this is a pretty colorful game. It isn’t nearly as gruesome as Dead Nation, but it isn’t white as cartoony as Burn Zombie Burn!. It sits somewhere in the middle, content with not really standing apart from the crowd visually. It’s like that creepy kid who sat in the middle of the playground on a swing without actually swinging, as the other kids played around him. At first glance he looks like a loser, but if you look into those beady eyes you’ll see the potential for greatness.
That’s all a long-winded way of saying this game has the potential to really stand out, though in the end it doesn’t quite succeed. The most exciting feature is the RPG side, since that’s really the only thing we haven’t already seen a dozen times before in other games that are a lot like this one. Instead of getting from Point A to Point B, or merely trying to survive, you have quests, and these quests take you all around the impressively large environments as you kill everything that gets in your way while you search for that special thing you need.
Scattered around the environments are chests, lockers, and other searchable containers that house within them the items necessary to complete quests, or other items like loot, ammunition, and EXP. Finding them is pretty simple, thanks to the handy compass that points you to hidden items and crucial quest items. Once you find the container the battle is half over, as you now have to spend some nerve-wrenching seconds trying to open it while you’re undoubtedly being chased by a horde of the undead.
You might’ve noticed I said loot earlier. Yeah, this game has that, though not on par with a Dead Island or Borderlands, the loot is substantial enough to keep you playing, especially since you can use many of the items you collect on your adventures to craft new and more powerful weapons at the bases between the levels. It’s a nifty idea, taken from other very successful zombie games like Dead Rising and Dead Island, and it’s also pretty fun.
With that said, as far as loot and weapon crafting systems go, the one here isn’t likely to satiate anyone who’s played games like these before. By this I mean the number of weapons you can create isn’t very impressive, and I would’ve hoped that because this is the game’s main selling point, that they would’ve put more time into this feature. It’s fun as it is, but it isn’t deep enough to warrant multiple playthroughs so you can see all the weapons it has to offer.
The Final Word: It might not break any boundaries or innovate in really any way, but that doesn’t keep All Zombies Must Die from being a fun game that you can play with your friends — assuming you’re all on the same console.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of All Zombies Must Die!.