If you've played Call of Duty, you may remember the levels where you fly in an AC-130 and target the enemies below in a fantastic display of aerial firepower. Well, Zombie Gunship [$0.99] by Limbic Software is based on that idea. In the game, you look down over an apocalyptic landscape and wait for enemies to appear on your radar. Suddenly, a solitary human figure rushes from the shadows, trying to escape from hoards of brain-loving zombies. This is where you step in, to save the day. You must shoot the zombies below, before they eat the few remaining humans or reach the bunker. If one lifeless zombie reaches the bunker, it seals itself to avoid being breached and your mission is over.

There's heaps of defense-type games, but Zombie Gunship stands out because of it's stark realism. Your view of the terrain is provided via a grainy black and white night-vision display, just like using the targeting systems of an AC-130 (or as video games lead us to believe, anyway ). Also, because you're in a plane, your position and perspective slowly change, although this is so subtle you barely notice. There's no music or unrealistic sound effects, just the noise of the airplane engine, occasional military chatter on the radio and the sound of your own gunfire. Even the opening menus have no background music, which seemed odd initially, but now I really appreciate that this all adds to the realistic military feeling.

Weapon upgrades provide a strong incentive to keep playing. There's three different weapons, ranging from a gatling gun for picking off individual zombies, up to a crowd-destroying 105mm howitzer cannon. It's super satisfying to blast those zombies using the various weaponry, and it's even more fun once you start upgrading weapons via coins earned (or bought) in game to fire faster and cause more damage. You'll need that extra fire-power too because there's some bigger zombie "things", down there as well. But be careful, don't shoot too many civilians, or your mission will be aborted. Game Center is used for player rankings, but unfortunately there's no achievements, difficulty modes or career statistics available currently. Limbic has said they plan on supporting the game via updates, and it wouldn't surprise me to see these missing features being patched in first.

The developers have mentioned in our forums that if the game does well they'll look into releasing a iPad version (or potential universal update). The good news is, Zombie Gunship has rocketed up to #2 on the App Store charts, making iPad support seem fairly certain. While this success is deserved, the game definitely needs some more maps, to provide variation from the single landscape provided and it would be great if you could customize the controls, as I'd love to tweak the position of the fire button.

Limbic Software have done a fantastic job with Zombie Gunship. Also, per the iTunes description, the sound design is by the same person responsible for the audio in the Gears of War, so when you download this game (and you really should) be sure to play it with headphones to appreciate the effort that went into the audio. One last thing to keep in mind, Zombie Gunship has entirely optional IAP which only serves to allow you to unlock weapons faster. You never need to buy anything, but it's just something to be aware of if this kind of IAP ruffles your feathers. Now, I've got to get back to raining hell fire upon legions of zombies.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://players.openfeint.com OFErOne (Erwin Ocampo)

    Great game! Love it

  • Anonymous

    Currently Number 4 in the UK paid downloads as well so must be doing pretty well. This is a great game, I'm really enjoying it. pew! pew! pew! pew! BOOM!

    One thing that isn't mentioned in the review but which i have found a nice feature is the way that when your score goes past that of a GC friend, it is presented on the display in the top left. The constant competition of high scores is a great social touch, in a game that isn't social.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ngohuyq Huy Ngo

    Definitely needs to make the fire button a little bigger and a bit further from the corner.  Also I'd prefer if the view / weapon change button were on the bottom right rather than upper right.

    The game is pretty amazing though overall.  I enjoyed a few hours of zombie blasting!  

    One other qualm that I do have is that the civilians tend to run along the same path as the zombies rather than avoiding them.  More often than not you'll find a civilian following a pack of zombies or even running inside the pack.  Very unlikely in my opinion for this game offers a great sense of realism and the fact that the civilians are surrounding themselves in zombies is a bit funky.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RE3DRM7EXO7LBC2CIGWY4FKBKQ David

    Hint, the big enemies go down faster with the machine gun

  • Jas

    I'd definitely buy this on iPad.

  • Rpw_03

    what is "IAP"?

    • shmup fan

      In App Purchase...

  • Ron Foley

    Really enjoying this game. More maps would be welcome. :)

  • andrzej raczynski

    played a round on a friend's iphone, was fun, but too tiny for me to want to play more than one round (or buy it for my iphone/ipod), would probably pick it up for the ipad though.

  • http://twitter.com/akhatman Akhat

    I'd agree with Huy Ngo. AI of the game is rather questionable or better say, there is none, and it spoils the feeling of 'realism'. It's not only that the civilians run near zombies not even trying to avoid them; it's also that when you are trying to help a civilian to combat a zombie (and it's very obvious that civilians never win), and accidentally shoot the civilian, you are getting the penalty - well, come on, they would have been dead anyway! :) It is also a pity that civilians cannot defeat zombies at all, and that when a zombie destroys a civilian, the civilian simply disappears; that looks creepy.

    Overall though, it's fine to shoot some zombies for a while, but the game is lacking certain minor tweaks, which could make it addicting for a longer term.

  • http://carryingthegun.wordpress.com/ Don

    Love the game. I'm addicted. I've gunned over 1,000 zombies and still climbing. I'd like to see more maps too, though. And more zombies. This game has lots of potential.

  • Asfasf

    It's in night vision mode, the people are "blind" :D

  • Laticsdave

    Great game. However....how can people kill 52000 zombies in a single game without cheats? Cheats suck, and spoil the game. There is more satisfaction in improving your skill level through trial and error than getting some crack for the game and having no reload time or no civilian casualty limit.

  • Adam Crockett

    I posted a Zombie Gunship strategy here: 
    http://1000xp.blogspot.com/2011/08/zombie-gunship-strategy.html

  • Speed Williams

    What are similar games to Zombie Gunship?

Zombie Gunship Reviewed by Troy Woodfield on . Rating: 4