OMG HD Zombies! Review
Posted by Greg Giddens
Do you have the deadication?
After some zombie target practice as a PlayStation Minis title, the addictive OMG-Z is back as a full PlayStation Vita game, with Trophies, leaderboards, and a fresh lick of paint. OMG HD Zombies takes the original release's compelling mechanics, and gives them a good old polish, prompting you to venture deeper down the chain-reaction rabbit hole.
You play as a lone gunman trying to escape from the infected city of Redfield. Equipped with a rifle with very little ammunition, you must battle through dozens of different environments, taking purposeful pot shots to clear the screen of the lurking undead. Despite what it sounds like, though, this is not an action game, but more of a puzzle title. From your safe vantage point, you must target the right zombies in order to trigger the most effective chain-reactions, using your handful of bullets wisely in order to dismember a set quota of the coffin dodgers and earn one of four tiered medals to unlock new stages.
Watching hundreds of the undead implode – or the odd flaming barrel inexplicably strewn across the streets – is a super satisfying mechanic, and it doesn't end with mere explosions. Multiple types of the infected roam the world, and each one has a unique, gory response to a bullet in the skull. For example, the bloated zombies have a relatively large discharge radius, while zombies with guns fire off a bullet or two as they fall. Two new types have been added to this re-release: the screaming zombie who sprints around the screen, and the mortar zombie whose head is fired like a grenade. These naturally introduce new combo options.
Unlocking new levels and subsequent medals will keep you coming back for more, but you also earn cash as you progress, which can be spent on upgrades to your rifle and the deadliness of each corpse's demise properties. Levelling up ensures that you're able to achieve medals in even the trickiest arenas, but also better your performance on stages that you may have beaten a few hours earlier. It's incredibly moreish, and the random nature of the levels means that the game's hard to put down once you pick it up. You can even prestige the campaign multiple times, meaning that there's tons of content available here.
You can quite honestly lose yourself for hours among the black and white cities, which gradually get washed with blotches of blood. It's a great aesthetic, and is complemented by a basic narrative, which outlines how the zombies came to exist. The plot is told through comic book cutscenes, and while it's easily ignorable, it's nice that the developer included a little context. However, it's the puzzles that will keep you hooked.
If you've already played the original, then you'll know all about OMG HD Zombies' addictive qualities. As such, it's the refreshed visuals that are most likely to draw your attention. No longer are the shambling hordes around you a blurry mess, but you can now clearly differentiate between the different types of undead, making your task of choosing the best target a little easier. Unfortunately, the other additions outside of the graphical overhaul and aforementioned zombie types are a little less significant.
The new leaderboards, for example, improve the compelling score-chasing challenge, but the random nature of the levels does impair the fairness of it all a little. Similarly, the game can take a little too long to upload your score, especially if your connection is a bit hit-or-miss. We found that it was easier to play the title offline, nullifying the inclusion of the feature entirely.
Similarly, we found the new touch controls to be a bit imprecise. While they work fine when you're tapping through the menus, the in-game controls compromise your accuracy, often leading to you shooting the wrong type of zombie in crowded areas. Fortunately, you can switch to the old analogue stick method at will.
Finally, in-app transactions known as Zit grenades have been implemented. These allow you to clear the screen with a single blast, but purchasing the items is expensive, and subtracts from the satisfaction of solving the puzzles for yourself. Mercifully, the developer doesn't shove these down your throat, so they can be easily ignored.
If you missed out on this clever take on the zombie apocalypse the first time around, then OMG HD Zombies is a must buy. The fresh undead types and overhauled visuals will offer something new for seasoned slayers, while the sheer satisfaction of the core gameplay loop will delight newcomers. The leaderboards could have been better implemented, but don't let that put you off this hearty helping of guts and gore.