You should never judge a game by its title, but in the case of School Girl/Zombie Hunter, you'd be absolutely right to expect cheap Japanese schlock, complete with last-gen graphics, wonky gameplay, and panty shots. Similar to the Earth Defence Force series, this is a low budget release that's undeniably rough around the edges, but the hope is that you'll find its inherent shoddiness endearing. Unfortunately for School Girl/Zombie Hunter, it has too many flaws to be considered dumb, reliable fun.
The core of the game is its single player story mode, which sees five school girls attempt to survive a zombie outbreak. Armed to the teeth with assault rifles, shotguns, and various other standard weapon types, the talkative teens are tasked with blasting their way through hordes of shufflers as they try to make contact with the outside world.
The whole thing's mission-based, so the story's told through cutscenes that bookend each stint of gameplay. The game tries to spotlight the relationships between the five main characters, but the cutscenes are so poorly constructed that you'll struggle to stay focused. The screen constantly cuts to black as the camera changes position, and the girls have a nasty habit of spouting the most tedious dialogue that you can imagine. Mind-numbingly boring is an understatement.
Thankfully the gameplay holds up a little better. The act of shooting zombies is reasonably entertaining -- at least for the first couple of hours. The controls are undeniably janky, but the option to completely change your button layout helps soothe the issue somewhat. Watching an undead enemy erratically spin off into the air after landing a headshot is a highlight, and we must admit that mowing down waves of shambling corpses is cathartic in a Dynasty Warriors-esque way.
Needless to say, the game's pretty straightforward. As soon as you get used to timing your evasive rolls correctly, the zombies don't pose much of a threat, and you can unlock some seriously overpowered guns thanks to the title's generous loot system. It gets to a point where failing a mission's objective is more common than dying, especially when you're tasked with defending specific points on the map.
Sadly, this is where the frustration sets in. Later missions can really start to test your patience thanks to strict time limits and brain-dead allies. Some missions see the whole gang move as a unit -- the four girls that you aren't controlling managed by the computer. While their pinpoint accuracy is a boon when facing down an undead horde, they love to block off doorways and fence you into corners. You can spend minutes trapped in a room trying to nudge your allies aside, but it's like they're set in stone.
If you get sick and tired of the computer's stupidity, you can always hop online and play with other people. The game features a five-player co-op mode, but with only ten available missions, it's not exactly bursting with content, and as if to add insult to injury, the last couple of stages are hilariously cheap.
Playing alongside humans can certainly make for some funny moments, but that's only if you can actually find people to play with. During our time with the release, we barely came across a handful of other players, and only once did we manage to fill a room.
School Girl/Zombie Hunter is a rough, low budget release that's a guilty pleasure for all of a few minutes. Awful cutscenes pepper a forgettable story mode, and the online co-op is stunted. Rather than being so bad that it's actually good, the game's simply below average, weighed down by too many issues.