PSP Review: Age of Zombies
Halfbrick have produced a delightful, fun product in Age of Zombies. The chibi-style aesthetics and top down perspective of the game add variety to the otherwise overdone genre of horror games saturating the market. And then there's the big selling point - it costs only $5.
Plotline - Age of Zombies PSP Review
Age of Zombies certainly does not take itself too seriously. Playing the role of the time travelling Barry Steakfries, an action hero with a knack for ridiculous one-liners, players must travel through time, destroying the zombie armies created by the mad scientist Professor Brain. The game's story is one vague enough to poke fun at the many survival horror games on the market that take themselves far too seriously for their own good.
While it may seem as though integrating decent gameplay into a top-down shooter might be an easy task, Halfbrick have produced a technical masterpiece. The controls are responsive and accurate, and players will never have a moment of frustration at the controls. One of the parts of the game play which facilitates this is fixed perspective camera. Instead of fooling around with where the camera is looking, players only have to focus on moving and shooting. Shooting treats the right side buttons (X, O etc) as though they are a second D-Pad - each button causes Barry to shoot in a different direction, with X being down, O being the player's right and so on.
There is simply a huge array of weapons at the players disposal, each with different characteristics. The player's default pistol has unlimited ammo, but offers no points for killing zombies. Different weapons have limited ammunition, but can offer a handy bonus, both in fire power and points, when used correctly.
For players used to first person shooters the control system will at first confuse. Rather than both sticks being used to move the character around, the player just uses their left stick of d-pad to move their character, using the right buttons to fire, using each or a combination or two to fire in a different direction. For example, using the Triangle and Circle buttons will cause the charactger to fire to the top right of the screen.
At first glance many players will be shocked by the graphical style of the game. In a time where new games are constantly pushing the limits of the generation's hardware, Age of Zombies is a fallback to the older style of graphics more suited to a NES or Mega Drive game. But looking past the aesthetic style, one can see that the graphics are perfect - there is just the right balance of brightness and detail to convey the satirical nature of the game while still keeping the graphics to a high standard. Indeed, each sprite has been lovingly created by Halfbrick, and in the graphical department there is not a hint of error.
The weapon effects in particular are overdone and way over the top, but this is in no way a bad thing, and fits perfectly together with the game's habit of not taking itself seriously.
The game's soundtrack has plenty of variety, with a different set of music accompanying accompanying each period of time the player travels to. The voice announcing which weapon the player has just collected also changes in manner and accent depending on what time period the player is in. The sounds are well recorded, and certainly add to the charm of the game.
Age of Zombies is a brilliant game, and it is surprise that developers Halfbrick have not attempting to get more for the game than they have. It blends the cute old style graphics with game play to rival the best of today's cutting edge releases, and is certainly the best Mini to be released to date. It is a must have game for all PSP and PS3 owners.
Age of Zombies is available from the Playstation Store for USD$4.99, and can be played on both the PSP and PS3.