Today, I review Zombie Night Terror, the second zombie themed PC game this month. Yes, I can hear you saying it, “not another zombie game”. One thing that can be said about the video gaming industry is, like the movie industry, when a theme or a genre is popular, even for a moment, then we get tons and tons of content from that idea. Zombies have become the new World War II shooter in today’s market, so it takes something different or fresh to really get me to take notice. While Zombie Night Terror isn’t the greatest zombie game in the world, in reminded me of another game from the early nineties that I used to play a lot of, Lemmings. This connection alone made Zombie Night Terror, by NoClip, much more interesting and worth my time then I originally thought it would be.
Zombie Night Terror centers around a mad scientist who has created a new street drug called Romero (as in George). This new street drug has a horrible side effect on the user, and by horrible I mean it kills the user and they return as one of the walking dead. Apparently, the mad scientist didn’t concern himself with returning customers that were still breathing. You are the hive mind behind this newly created horde, and you are out for blood. And brains, brains too.
The story for Zombie Night Terror gives you a framework for why you are doing the things you are doing in the game, but it doesn’t really drive the overall game play. The story is told through in game cut scenes, or through dialogue boxes that come in the shape of news reports. Usually, these news reports are telling you about a new ability or feature that you can do, but more on that in the Game Play section. Each level gives you a certain amount of humans you must eat and convert to move onto the next level, but there are also challenge objectives that can be done, like find the secret drug stash or kill every last human on a level. Ultimately, the story is pretty simple to follow with nothing substantial or ground breaking, but it is a zombie game so what did you expect.
Zombie Night Terror plays a lot like Lemmings, a lot. For those of you that are on the young side and don’t know what Lemmings was all about, let me describe the game play style. You are placed in charge of a horde of creatures that have no mind of their own. This horde will walk right into dangers and perils, without any thought of their own safety. Your job as overlord, is to complete the task set in front of you, by commanding your horde in a way to preserve the most numbers. As you loose members, you become less efficient, and it becomes harder and harder to complete the level. That perfectly describes what Lemmings and Zombie Night Terror are at their core.
So, how does Zombie Night Terror differ from Lemmings? Mostly in theme, but you have a few other things you need to worry about. First, you can get a certain amount of syringes filled with Romero to infect humans anywhere in the level. This could give you a tactical advantage, or help you kill off hard to reach humans. You can find more Romero in the level as you play, but it is always a limited amount so what you you stick. You will also have access to special zombie types that will help organize your horde. Like the Overlord, who will block a path and tell your zombies to walk the other direction, or the Exploder, who can destroy certain walls on the level. You also only have a certain amount of DNA to use, and you need this DNA to create special zombie types. You can burn your own zombies to get more DNA, but must watch because the less zombies you have, the less effective your horde is.
As you kill humans, your horde becomes stronger and stronger. The humans, however, won’t stand idly by and let you just eat their brains, oh no! You will encounter tougher enemies, like bat wielding tough guys, or even SWAT officers, who could easily decimate your entire horde if you are not thinking ahead. Controls are fairly simple, once you get used to them. You use the arrow keys to move around the camera around the level. The HUD has a dashboard on it that allows you to choose your zombie type or use certain powers. The rest is pretty much point and click, then watch humanity die.
Zombie Night Terror plays extremely well and is a great take on this genre. Yes, it’s another zombie game, but it’s a zombie game based on Lemmings! That’s something we haven’t seen at all yet. It will take some tactics to complete each level, you just can barrel through the game without thinking, but it will take some real planning to hit all of the challenges. Zombie Night Terror allows you to pause the game by using the space bar, and this will allow you to think ahead and plan. You can also use this time to see each route through the level. There will be doors you need to break down or stairs you need to climb, and you will need to tell your horde to do just that by clicking on the icons near each feature. These icons can be switched at any time, and doing so will help guide your horde or keep them locked in the attic until you have figured out your next move.
Like The Final Station last time, Zombie Night Terror uses outdated graphics to both help keep costs down on development, but to also make the aesthetic fit the game. Zombie Night Terror looks like the old Lemmings game visually, using pixelated graphics that won’t win any prizes this year. With that being said, Zombie Night Terror isn’t a bad looking game, not in the slightest. NoClip chose to use these graphics with a monochromatic color pallete. The game is almost entirely done in black and white, with the only two major colors being green and red. Green shows the player where more Romero is, and red is, well, it’s the blood. Lot’s of blood.
The sound design follows the visuals in aesthetics. The characters all talk like they are rejects from a Sims game, speaking mostly the same type of gibberish, with all dialogue being shown in subtitles. Again, a smart design decision that helps keep costs down for a small developer, while feeling like a conscience design thought. If you are a graphics hound and only play games for the shiny, just skip Zombie Night Terror. For those of you that are willing to look past the aging exterior, you will find a really, really fun game.
Zombie Night Terror is flat out fun and challenging. This is a new take on a tired genre, and helped relive my high school years by bringing back memories of Lemmings. Is it possible that I’ve been seduced because of my memory of another great game, sure. I recommend this game anyway. The theme and aesthetic work perfectly together, the game play and mechanics are finely tuned, and the game is just flat out fun. What else do you need from a game that costs $12.99? Zombie Night Terror is available now on Steam.
|Zombie Night Terror Review Score|
|Overall Score (out of 5)|