976317On Friday, we reported on EA's plans to create a micro-studio within the company called 8lb Gorilla to create original games to target the low-end casual iPhone gaming market.

Their first entry Zombies & Me [App Store] appeared in the App Store this weekend. This $0.99 game is targeting the pick-up and play audience that seems to be becoming a staple in iPhone gaming.

The release of any game under the EA masthead seems to evoke high expectations and strong emotions from portions of our audience. Some of these emotions appear to be misplaced as we feel all games should be taken for what they are regardless of publisher. At $0.99, this simple game clearly fits into the causal pick-up-and-play market that has been so well dominated by the likes of Flight Control, Pocket God and Doodle Jump. For these types of games, it comes down to the gameplay "hook" and whether or not they are compelling. Our final verdict of Zombies & Me as a $0.99 game ends up as "good, but not great".

In Zombies & Me, it is the apocalypse and zombies are coming out of the woodwork to get you and your grandma's house. Without any weapons, the best you can do is use yourself as bait to lead the zombies under falling bombs. The targets appear at random and you get bonuses for killing zombies in bulk. The trick is getting out from under the targets yourself before the bomb hits. If the zombies get too close to you, they will grab you and prevent you from moving. You have to tap rapidly in order to get out of their hold. This can, of course, cause your untimely demise if you are under a bomb.

Our video shows how the game is played:


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Technically, the game is well produced with nice artwork, music and presentation. The gameplay itself is simple, and while the tap controls seem to work, there is a certain amount of imprecision to them. Similar to Warpack Grunts you tap where you want to go which ends up with me just tapping back and forth in a zig-zag. An unfortunately placed on-screen pause button also causes some inadvertent breaks in the action with accidental taps. While I'm typically against gratuitous accelerometer usage, I wonder if that might have been an improvement for this particular game.

976317_5While the game does offer you your personal high score stats including total number of zombies killed and most killed at once, there is no global/online high score tracking. For a game where high-scores are the driving goal, it seems to be a glaring omission.

Beyond that, the game offers some simple gameplay that is encapsulated within the video above. It's reasonably fun to play, and death usually comes as a surprise, giving you a bit of a kick to try one more time. While I believe the game will have its fans, I don't think the gameplay "hook" is compelling enough to strongly recommend. So, in the end, for just $0.99 it's good but not great, and we'd hope to see the inclusion of a global high score.

Of course, we're still interested to see what else 8lb Gorilla has to offer us in the coming months as they explore this market.

App Store Link: Zombies & Me, $0.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • Dark NRG

    Well said

  • Dark NRG

    Well said

  • Dark NRG

    Also, we enjoy this game (which I really didn't think we would, esp due to the lack of depth) but the point I'd like to make is that the mechanics using your finger on the screen ala WarGrunts (which I've said in the past makes my finger tired;) seems to work for this game, primarily because my focus is on GUY, how/where to shoot the enemy, and all I need to do is tap GUY to shake off the Zombies, as we all know, would be implemented as shaking the whole device as other games...incredibly disruptive while focus on a game. This and Crush Bunny were two good 99 cent purchases, but both could be a bit more challenging and just an iota deeper. Someone mentioned in the forum whether EA will really maintain these tootsie-centers if they're gonna make so many of them as planned: monthly.

    • arn

      I agree these controls works better in this game. because generally zig-zagging back and forth works ok. it's only when you get to the top and bottom edges where it might become an issue and you have to tap more precisely.

      arn

  • Dark NRG

    Also, we enjoy this game (which I really didn't think we would, esp due to the lack of depth) but the point I'd like to make is that the mechanics using your finger on the screen ala WarGrunts (which I've said in the past makes my finger tired;) seems to work for this game, primarily because my focus is on GUY, how/where to shoot the enemy, and all I need to do is tap GUY to shake off the Zombies, as we all know, would be implemented as shaking the whole device as other games...incredibly disruptive while focus on a game. This and Crush Bunny were two good 99 cent purchases, but both could be a bit more challenging and just an iota deeper. Someone mentioned in the forum whether EA will really maintain these tootsie-centers if they're gonna make so many of them as planned: monthly.

    • arn

      I agree these controls works better in this game. because generally zig-zagging back and forth works ok. it's only when you get to the top and bottom edges where it might become an issue and you have to tap more precisely.

      arn

  • Kita

    This game is only a buck but it gets old fast like idracula. It's pretty but shallow. I would rather buy more apps that would normally be priced 5-10 bucks on another cell phone (or portable gaming system) heavily underpriced to 99 cents for a sale or price drop :) This is part of the reason why the iPhone has so many great and cheap games; Everyone is jumping on the developement bandwagon and needs to compete by lowering the price!

  • Kita

    This game is only a buck but it gets old fast like idracula. It's pretty but shallow. I would rather buy more apps that would normally be priced 5-10 bucks on another cell phone (or portable gaming system) heavily underpriced to 99 cents for a sale or price drop :) This is part of the reason why the iPhone has so many great and cheap games; Everyone is jumping on the developement bandwagon and needs to compete by lowering the price!

  • http://www.matecha.net/ amatecha

    Damn, looks pretty awesome BUT also looks like it could use more variety. Different levels?? Some kind of even trivial storyline. I mean, look at the original Postal. Almost no full "storyline" per se, yet you at least felt like you were "getting somewhere" because you'd get to additional levels with different scenery/layout and enemies (as well as weapons).

  • http://www.matecha.net/ amatecha

    Damn, looks pretty awesome BUT also looks like it could use more variety. Different levels?? Some kind of even trivial storyline. I mean, look at the original Postal. Almost no full "storyline" per se, yet you at least felt like you were "getting somewhere" because you'd get to additional levels with different scenery/layout and enemies (as well as weapons).

  • TKO

    Not available in the New Zealand store. *sigh* Why does this kinda crap only happen with the big companies? This isn't on old title with licensing issues for various territories, doesn't contain any licensed material with similar issues. Why wasn't it released worldwide?

    Looked good. I was gonna buy it right away. Now I've got that old fashioned EA bad taste in my mouth. :|

    • Carlos

      If you search for the game instead of using the link you might be lucky. The link didnt work for me neither but it sure enough was available and purchable. Cheers

  • TKO

    Not available in the New Zealand store. *sigh* Why does this kinda crap only happen with the big companies? This isn't on old title with licensing issues for various territories, doesn't contain any licensed material with similar issues. Why wasn't it released worldwide?

    Looked good. I was gonna buy it right away. Now I've got that old fashioned EA bad taste in my mouth. :|

    • Carlos

      If you search for the game instead of using the link you might be lucky. The link didnt work for me neither but it sure enough was available and purchable. Cheers

  • HipHopTouch

    It looks a decent game, but not one that I would buy... saying that TKO I also clicked the link but realised it is also not available in the UK either...

    Look forward to other releases... but at the minute I won't be purchasing this one...

  • HipHopTouch

    It looks a decent game, but not one that I would buy... saying that TKO I also clicked the link but realised it is also not available in the UK either...

    Look forward to other releases... but at the minute I won't be purchasing this one...

  • swarmster

    "Some of these emotions appear to be misplaced as we feel all games should be taken for what they are regardless of publisher. At $0.99, this simple game clearly fits into the causal pick-up-and-play market that has been so well dominated by the likes of Flight Control, Pocket God and Doodle Jump."

    EA's improved a lot over the years as a corporation (while Activision's tanked), but I wouldn't be comparing them to those games just yet. The real problem isn't some dismissive bias against large publishers, it's that they simply don't have a good track record for ongoing support and improvement of games after they're released. I mean, Flight Control added online community features, new airports, bluetooth multiplayer, and who knows what in the future. Pocket God and Doodle Jump have added even more.

    Maybe they'll prove me wrong, but with EA coming out of the box saying they're going to make their small team release a new game every month, the chances of any attention being paid to their current/past titles appears slim.

    • arn

      to be fair, Flight Control and Doodle Jump only added features after they became big successes.

      arn

  • swarmster

    "Some of these emotions appear to be misplaced as we feel all games should be taken for what they are regardless of publisher. At $0.99, this simple game clearly fits into the causal pick-up-and-play market that has been so well dominated by the likes of Flight Control, Pocket God and Doodle Jump."

    EA's improved a lot over the years as a corporation (while Activision's tanked), but I wouldn't be comparing them to those games just yet. The real problem isn't some dismissive bias against large publishers, it's that they simply don't have a good track record for ongoing support and improvement of games after they're released. I mean, Flight Control added online community features, new airports, bluetooth multiplayer, and who knows what in the future. Pocket God and Doodle Jump have added even more.

    Maybe they'll prove me wrong, but with EA coming out of the box saying they're going to make their small team release a new game every month, the chances of any attention being paid to their current/past titles appears slim.

    • arn

      to be fair, Flight Control and Doodle Jump only added features after they became big successes.

      arn

  • Glomgold

    If 8lb Gorilla plans to release these little games every month, does that mean they're not going to support/update these micro games? Sounds like they're going to be too busy to worry about supporting any of their apps :/

    • Glomgold

      Sorry, I hadn't read swarmsters comment prior to posting.

    • nizy

      I asked them that in the thread, and he said: "if the gamers want it, we'll do it" or something to that affect.

  • Glomgold

    If 8lb Gorilla plans to release these little games every month, does that mean they're not going to support/update these micro games? Sounds like they're going to be too busy to worry about supporting any of their apps :/

    • Glomgold

      Sorry, I hadn't read swarmsters comment prior to posting.

    • nizy

      I asked them that in the thread, and he said: "if the gamers want it, we'll do it" or something to that affect.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mstultz Mark

    Let's not kid ourselves. This is a sweet soundtrack.

    • Bror

      Does one song count as a soundtrack? It honestly annoys me when you hear it repeat during the game. However, it is very good.
      It'd also be nice to be able to turn sound effects on/off.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mstultz Mark

    Let's not kid ourselves. This is a sweet soundtrack.

    • Bror

      Does one song count as a soundtrack? It honestly annoys me when you hear it repeat during the game. However, it is very good.
      It'd also be nice to be able to turn sound effects on/off.

  • Spencerian

    Looks like a fun one, and at just a buck, it's price isn't a factor.

    However, Zombieville USA still holds my thrills in holding one's own in the zombie apocalypse, especially with shotguns, rocket launchers, a chainsaw and a BFG-like weapon (and soon, I understand, melee weapons). Despite its higher price over Zombies & Me, it's the one I'd recommend still, although I'll likely give this one a shot (it appears to be...da bomb. :)

    Gameplay for Zombies & Me (from the video) looks to be very fast, so it's more of a youthful fast-twitch-fiber game than the frenzied but manageable play that Zombieville has.

    • hazmat95

      uuuhhh zombieville already has melee weapons

      • Spencerian

        The recent release of Zombieville USA has one melee weapon: a chainsaw. But it requires "ammo" in the form of fuel. The developer is expected to release an update (if it's not out already) that adds unlimited-use melee weapons (type unknown) so that you can cheat death a little longer when your other weapons are out of ammo.

  • Spencerian

    Looks like a fun one, and at just a buck, it's price isn't a factor.

    However, Zombieville USA still holds my thrills in holding one's own in the zombie apocalypse, especially with shotguns, rocket launchers, a chainsaw and a BFG-like weapon (and soon, I understand, melee weapons). Despite its higher price over Zombies & Me, it's the one I'd recommend still, although I'll likely give this one a shot (it appears to be...da bomb. :)

    Gameplay for Zombies & Me (from the video) looks to be very fast, so it's more of a youthful fast-twitch-fiber game than the frenzied but manageable play that Zombieville has.

    • hazmat95

      uuuhhh zombieville already has melee weapons

      • Spencerian

        The recent release of Zombieville USA has one melee weapon: a chainsaw. But it requires "ammo" in the form of fuel. The developer is expected to release an update (if it's not out already) that adds unlimited-use melee weapons (type unknown) so that you can cheat death a little longer when your other weapons are out of ammo.

  • nizy

    Arn, if you go to options and change the control from "tap" to "Hold", you can basically control him using a virtual stick (or more like KillTest) - drag in any direction and he moves in that direction. Much better way to control the game. :)

    • Dark NRG

      I find no difference between the tap and hold options. I stay on tap and use it like wargrunts. What I don't see is all the supposed funny comments from grandma, which would give the game a bit more flavor. Then again, who has time to read with ur finger in the way? How about actual funny voice fx from grandma, or would that be more annoying than a one hit wonder soundtrack??

  • nizy

    Arn, if you go to options and change the control from "tap" to "Hold", you can basically control him using a virtual stick (or more like KillTest) - drag in any direction and he moves in that direction. Much better way to control the game. :)

    • Dark NRG

      I find no difference between the tap and hold options. I stay on tap and use it like wargrunts. What I don't see is all the supposed funny comments from grandma, which would give the game a bit more flavor. Then again, who has time to read with ur finger in the way? How about actual funny voice fx from grandma, or would that be more annoying than a one hit wonder soundtrack??

  • Thor

    I think this game is crap. People don't seem to care if they kust can spend their money. It is much too fast, the music is stressing and the gameplay is boring. Would be fun, if you had to defeat your grandma's house with several weapons and more and more zombies coming in waves.
    But like this it is boring senseless.

    Thor, gaming since 1980

    • JD

      Yeah, that house is pure evil. Unless properly armed with several deadly implements of war, no mere man would stand a chance.

  • Thor

    I think this game is crap. People don't seem to care if they kust can spend their money. It is much too fast, the music is stressing and the gameplay is boring. Would be fun, if you had to defeat your grandma's house with several weapons and more and more zombies coming in waves.
    But like this it is boring senseless.

    Thor, gaming since 1980

    • JD

      Yeah, that house is pure evil. Unless properly armed with several deadly implements of war, no mere man would stand a chance.

  • TKO

    Ah, thanks Carlos! It looks like there are *two* versions of this game in the store. The US one, and the International one. The link above is for the US version, whereas the one for the International version is: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=322977242&mt=8

    Was able to access that and purchase the game. ..I wonder what the difference is now. :D

  • TKO

    Ah, thanks Carlos! It looks like there are *two* versions of this game in the store. The US one, and the International one. The link above is for the US version, whereas the one for the International version is: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=322977242&mt=8

    Was able to access that and purchase the game. ..I wonder what the difference is now. :D