Brainsss, a zombie action title developed by Lonely Few, is now available from the app store. Flipping the script on games that force you to flee from hordes of the undead, you control the brain-munching mob in an effort to eradicate humanity.
- Colorful, top-down presentation and cutesy animations
- Soothing soundtrack
- Responsive tap and swipe controls
- Star-collection goals and power-ups purchased via in-game currency
- Difficult to distinguish zombies from humans
- No zoom option
- Taps and swipes occasionally misinterpreted
- No social gaming network integration
Beyond a quick 5-level tutorial, Brainsss contains 16 relatively short levels set in a variety of environments. You control a small number of zombies whose goal is to convert any living humans to their shambling way of life via contact. Stars are earned depending on how quickly you can turn all of the civilians, with efficient tactics leading to a full 3-star ranking. Your task is made difficult by a variety of factors, including the slow speed of your horde, the winding pathways that allow civilians to get away, and the abilities of a few specialized human archetypes. Some have increased strength that requires multiple contact with zombies to turn them, while others have weapons to shoot and kill members of your mob unless you can overpower them from behind. The real-time strategy elements are fun and the characters have a lot of spunk.
Graphically, the top-down perspective gives you the ability to see a small area of the whole map, though you can easily spot humans hiding in nearby alleyways. Off-screen humans are indicated by dots along the screen edges, while cops and others are indicated by tiny heads. We found it a bit difficult to tell the humans and zombies apart, and the effect of collecting items scattered around the environment wasn’t clear. It would have been nice to zoom in at times, but there is no option to do so. The soundtrack is soothing and relaxing, an odd selection given the theme. Selecting zombies requires you to swipe over the targeted individuals, and tapping on the screen sends the horde to the chosen spot. A 2-finger swipe pans the screen to alter your viewpoint. A split button in the lower right corner will split your selected mob in half, allowing you to send zombies in different directions to trap unsuspecting humans. The controls worked well for the most part, though swipes and taps are sometimes misidentified.
Replay value is decent, as you can hone your strategy for faster completion times and pick up missed stars. In-game currency can be used to purchase level-specific power-ups like increased speed and greater damage to help you get over the hump on particularly tough levels, though it’s entirely optional. Additional level sets are promised, so a great deal more content will hopefully be on the way before long. A universal app for $2.99, Brainsss is a quirky 3.5-Dimple offering.