NY Zombies 2, the follow-up first-person zombie shooter from Foursaken Media, is now available from the app store. Despite intriguing new elements like free-roam, skill trees, and co-op multiplayer, there are a number of annoyances in this sequel that make us long for the simplicity of the original.
NY Zombies 2 Pros:
- Similar graphic style as the original, offering gritty down-trodden feel
- Soundtrack is brooding, with a creepy vibe
- Controls are simple to use and intuitive
- Co-op gameplay, skill trees, and more liven up the experience
- GameCenter integration provides global leaderboards and achievements to earn
NY Zombies 2 Cons:
- Some graphical issues, slow paced, and lousy survivor AI
- Controls lack responsiveness, tend to get hero hung up on environmental objects
The story remains largely the same: a plague of sorts has turned most of the population into zombies, save for you and a handful of survivors. You are tasked with dispatching any and all walkers that want to make a fleshy meal out of you, using a variety of weapons that can be purchased and upgraded with money earned at the conclusion of each level. You have a limited number of spots to equip weapons and other items (med kits, zombie bait, etc.) for use in each level, creating a strategic opportunity to select the proper weaponry for each scenario. Your progression takes you to different locations, with the story playing out through minor exposition and collectible journal pages found within the levels. Whereas the original pinned your feet to one spot in each level, forcing you to spin 360-degrees to kill enemies sneaking up from all sides, NY Zombies 2 adds a free-roam element that gives you a virtual joypad for walking around the levels, as well as the ability to look up and down to deal with ankle-biting dogs and eye-pecking crows. While running from zombies is typically a staple of zombie shooters, its implementation is just not what we expected, as the overall functionality is sub-par. Movements are on the slooooow side, with zombies moving just a tad slower than you do. Locating the animals on their different planes can be a troublesome and frustrating chore, one of our least enjoyable new features. We also have a tendency to get snagged on nearby environmental objects or trapped within a mob of attacking zombies that don’t allow us to move without first taking out the whole mob and figuring out what small object has stymied the protagonist.
Using the joypad doesn’t even feel all that responsive, as dragging the stick in any direction doesn’t cause our hero to start moving without a noticeable pause. Shooting while moving doesn’t always provide consistent results, either, forcing us to stop and shoot. This allows the zombies to close in quickly and gives them an additional advantage as our attempt to start moving again results in the same small time gap between dragging the stick and corresponding action by our hero. Objects in the environment allow for interaction by tapping a hand icon that appears in the upper right corner of the screen. Unfortunately, this tends to be easy to miss, as the graphics can appear to be a bit washed out and the button’s transparency doesn’t make it evident when it appears. Also, given that our focus is usually toward the center of the screen, we found ourselves missing interactive objects time and again because we simply didn’t notice this button appear. A similar issue can make it difficult to pick birds out of the sky when the background obscures them. Trying to locate birds in the park with trees in the background can feel like an exercise in futility.
We run into more issues when we focus in on the presentation. While we were glad to see the art style of the original retained and even improved, there were a lot of graphical glitches where enemies would take corners with noticeable clipping that made them appear to walk through portions of walls and the like. Worse than this, though, are the awful survivors that you find along the way. Not only are they not distinguishable enough from zombies at a quick glance (we wasted plenty of precious ammo by accidentally shooting at them), but they often get in the way and block our vision of oncoming zombies. They don’t seem to know enough to stay behind the protagonist, putting us in a difficult situation where we aren’t just trying to avoid zombies, but also find a spot where we can actually see the oncoming shamblers.
The soundtrack uses some typical movie-style elements that create a creepy and uneasy feeling, adding to the creepy presentation. The pop-up shadowy zombies that appear when you tap on menu buttons are a cool effect, too. The combat controls are similar to those of the first version, where you tap the weapon buttons at the screen bottom to switch guns and tap the on-screen zombies to shoot. It can be a little awkward and it gives a feeling of imprecision, but they are what they are and we kind of appreciate that aspect of the game. Weapons will automatically reload when out of ammo, or you can double-tap a weapon icon to manually reload. Double-tapping the joypad (or single-tapping the map) causes you to make a 180-degree turn, a crucial detail given the slow turning speed when swiping the screen. The map is also a helpful tool to locate incoming baddies that you may be unaware of.
Replay value is decent, as some grinding is probably necessary to earn enough money to snag some of the bigger weapons and upgrade your guns and character skills. Additionally, you can try to improve you level times, accuracy, etc. if you like, or play through the game on a different difficulty level. Probably the biggest reason to return to the game often is the new co-op multiplayer mode, which allows you to take on certain levels with other gamers, which can be a good deal of fun. Overall, the new features do add a lot and create a new feel to the game, but we ultimately prefer the original to the sequel. A universal app for $1.99, NY Zombies 2 is a slightly disappointing 3-Dimple offering.
NY Zombies 2 Review,