Did Finish – Block Zombies

I have been Left 4 Dead, in a mall. On the Vegas strip. A World War 2 bunker. Even in fantasy role-playing games. So what is it that keeps me coming back to fight the shambling undead? Why, after all these encounters, do I still have the need to pick up a shotgun or potted plant and do battle with them?

I am going to guess that a psychologist would tell you that it’s because I have restless issues regarding the restless dead.

Few places meet my zombie slaughter needs as well as the Xbox Live Independent Game marketplace. Six out of Five games feature them. I try most titles once and usually never bother going back. The two mainstays of my XBLIG anti-zombie library are Dead Pixels and Zombie Estate.

But a new game has shambled along: could it be worthy of joining my Zombie game stable? Is Block Zombies by No Static Software that good?

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Look at that!
Block Zombies is a slick-looking game, using tiny blocks to make up every element of the world. It’s charming the way that zombies explode into smaller blocks. Gone is your standard run of the grays-overlaid-on-grays (with the occasional grey thrown in for variety) that dominate the zombie color scheme. This is a bright, cheerful world. The characters do not have any sort of walking animation — they bounce as they move. It makes Block Zombies all that much more charming! It’s like watching a hyper-violent cartoon, the only kind of cartoon worth watching.

The world I know
Block Zombie starts out simple, at a farmhouse with a giant crystal outside. What? Giant Crystals don’t just grow outside farmhouses, right? So you are tasked with shooting zombies in the face and destroying these crystals. The zombies are attracted to them, but destroying them creates a safe spot for you to take a quick rest. After a short time at the farm, you’re  bricking zombies in a town, and then you move on to a swamp. There is one more place you visit, but I’m not giving it away — let’s just say COOL is a word that describes it well.

Actually having a gun is one of the most important parts of shooting a zombie in the face (the other important parts being: having a zombie, and shooting it in the face). Block Zombies has the first two parts covered. You have a trusty pistol with a magically  unlimited number of bullets. There’s a shotgun for making a big mess. A submachine gun for those hard-to-reach places. And then you have the flamethrower and the rocket launcher.

You collect upgrades for your guns to boost their effectiveness, but my one gripe with Block Zombies is that the guns never seem to pack a massive punch — they are effective enough in their assigned tasks,  but I would have liked a bigger blast from the shotgun (mostly because I like shotguns making a mess). The flamethrower is worth upgrading to the max along with the pistol. What Block Zombies gets VERY right is that it doesn’t give you tons and tons of ammo. If you want to find yourself in trouble, go ahead and use all your fancy guns; when the time comes that you really need them, you will be stuck with the pistol. The Alpha Zombies will find that funny.

Just 80 points
Yeah, recommended! Block Zombies is a good time, and the ending gets really challenging and asks you to be on your game. All the way on your game. Block Zombies is the embodiment of everything that is right with Xbox Live Independent Games.

It feels like someone should be asking you to pay five times as much for this game. It’s a dollar! One dollar. Just one hundred pennies. You won’t even notice it’s gone. What you will notice is an awesome game on your hard drive. You will have fun — more fun than you’d get from keeping that dollar; dollars don’t try to eat your face off.

Credits made fun.
There is a nifty side game in Block Zombies; you can play during the credits. The zombies carry cards, walking down to produce  scrolling credits. Then you grab a machine gun and start blowing them away. HOLY FUN! You will not want to miss this mode!

(Block Zombies by No Static Software is available exclusively on Xbox Live Independent Games for 80 Microsoft points.)

About Donald Conrad

Donald Conrad is an avid father and a dedicated gamer -- or maybe that's the other way around. He loves his games, and he loves his family, and he's pretty sure he loves sleep, even if he doesn't remember what it was like. Follow his life confusion on Twitter @ConManEd