Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Available On: PlayStation 4
If you told me that Steam’s infamous Early Access model came to the PlayStation 4 and that #killallzombies was the first game that came in under it, I think I’d seriously believe you. #killallzombies, besides having a stupid title, doesn’t just feel unfinished but seems to go out of its way to actively wave its unfinished status in your face. Yet even if it was finished I’m not exactly sure that #killallzombies would have been anything worth retweeting.
Right from the start #killallzombies seems to be proudly displaying its unfinished state: while the game apparently has three game modes only the survival mode is available right now. A co-op survival and a base defense mode are both locked out as “coming soon”. Hell, even just highlighting the game on the dashboard has it promising more things “coming soon”, like new boss fights and weapons. I even think the game’s credits are a placeholder that was seriously copy and pasted from its spiritual predecessor Z-Run. They even give credit to the wrong song, saying it’s Z-Run’s theme song rather than… whatever plays here. Furthermore, the more I played the game the more I couldn’t help but notice how much it reminded me of Dead Nation, a similar but much better zombie fighting twin stick shooter. So lets make this real quick: If you really need a zombie twin stick shooter fix then Dead Nation is better than #killallzombies in most ways. Okay? Good!
But I haven’t really been fair since I haven’t talked much about the actual game play yet. #killallzombies is a twin stick survival arena where your only goal is to try to get the highest score before getting killed. While the majority of your enemies are just your normal zombie cannon fodder, they come in massive swarms very early in. Unfortunately your best hope for survival is almost entirely luck based. Every time you kill a zombie you get experience and enough of it allows you to level up. Yet when you level up all you get is a choice of one of four randomly selected perks. Some of them are only for a limited time, like perks that make you invisible, invincible, or have unlimited ammo. Others are more permanent. One game saw me with perks that increased my damage at the cost of my movement speed, explode upon death, and have a 90% chance for zombies to miss their attacks but all attacks to be instantly fatal. I can appreciate the addition of weird perks, but when my choices include things like “get 500,000 experience but end the game” “Get an 18% boost in XP and Score earned but die” and “get all the guns, but die” then I wonder what exactly the point is.
Even if I wasn’t totally at the mercy of the game’s perks, I was left to an almost ridiculously difficult game. Starting with the second wave (which takes me about 2 minutes to get to) I began to watch as things would fall from the sky and land in the arena. RVs, ambulances, and military trucks were the most common and destroying them would drop either experience, health, or a gun. Yet weirder items like pianos, UFOs, anvils, burning cars, Tetris blocks, and giant peanuts had a chance to fall from the sky. None of them seemed to have any effect when destroyed (if they could be), but all of them were able to kill me by just crushing me. Boss fights seem to happen at random and the only boss I could consistently run into basically marked the end of my game: I could never figure out how to kill him but his only attack would instantly kill me even if I had 200% health. All of this was made worse by #killallzombies’ biggest crime: inaccurate shooting. The character always seemed to aim slightly to the right of wherever I was pointing and I was almost constantly missing my targets. In a twin stick shooter accuracy is king and messing up something so basic really kills the game even worse than the reliance on luck and being overly difficult did.
There is one thing I can credit #killallzombies for and that would be its creative use of Twitch streaming. Anyone watching the game can enter a hashtag command that will change the game up in some way. They can drop items, summon enemies, give the player temporary perks, or drop mines all over the field. It’s actually not a bad idea and it does more with it than either Dead Nation or Daylight did, though the recent similarly terribly named #IDARB seems to have taken the idea and beaten #killallzombies out. Still, credit where credit is due, #killallzombies had at least one good idea going for it.
Maybe if they ever bother to finish it #killallzombies will be worth playing. In its current state, however, I seriously can’t recommend it in any way. If the fact that it’s blatantly unfinished wasn’t enough then the extreme difficulty, luck-reliant progression, and control inaccuracy should be more than enough to scare you away. May I suggest that you instead #skipthisgame.