It was easy to overlook the issues in the original Zombieville USA. When it hit, the App Store was as foreign and exciting as our new iPhones. Plus, there was no real measuring stick; we just knew it was a fun and cutesy side-scrolling shooter starring the world's favorite bullet-sponges, the undead. Zombieville USA 2 [$.99], on the other hand, has released in a period where we have expectations. Awesomely, Mika Mobile knocks them out of the park by both refining and creating within the confines of the original game.

Tightly-constructed, well-executed, charming, different and entertaining are all words I feel like I can freely use when describing Zombieville 2. For the most part, it's a near perfect iterative entry to the franchise. It artfully hones in on and turns up the volume on the two best parts of the original: the shooting and upgrade models.

Zombieville 2 just gives you more -- more zombies, more weapons, more people to play as, and more to unlock as you rummage through levels collecting cash from boxes and other environmental items. The upgrade model in particular is a killer. Like a modern Call of Duty, this game has a tendency to inspire constant replays, as the next best weapon or character perk is always just a few more sessions away.

A smarter Xbox-like button system allows for up to three weapon switching on the fly, while the harder-hitting melee weapons ensures you're never up the proverbial creek and unable to defend yourself against the zombie hordes that populate each of its cutesy, though still post-zombie armageddon environments.

Zombieville 2 introduces several key changes, including a huge out-of-game item store. For me, the most impfactful change is its re-moldeled structure. Levels are now instance-based and timed and you move between them freely. For the most part, the free-form appeal of the action has been retained. Whatever you do during your time in a level, be it running steadily to the right or staying put, is up to you.

This puts everything that happens on your terms -- you pick the weapons, you pick the approach and you choose how and when to kill. You probably won't come out of the action with a ZombieVille Moment to share with friends since the core model isn't all that interesting from a strictly mechanical run-and-gun standpoint, but you'll end up molding your own strategies or tactics inadvertently. A lot of weapons in the game have varying amounts of knock-back or cause adverse side-effects on the undead, allowing you room for more sandbox-y and satisfying play.

You can meet your undead, uh, death quota with a friend, too. A Game Center co-op mode adds a second player to the action via Bluetooth or online. The core action doesn't pop like you think it with more than one dude pummeling zombies due to schizophrenic spawns, but it's a welcome reprieve to doing it all by yourself.

Most sophomore efforts in a franchise just see incremental refinements to what made the game a success enough to spin it off in the first place. While you'll see a lot of that with Zombieville 2, there are some great and impactful changes to check out, as well. If you had any doubts, stop. This is a stupid-fun game with some sharp features and systems that'll keep you invested and having a good time.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Anonymous

    This is pretty cool, but I really wish sliding your thumb off the movement circle didn't make your guy stop. It's annoying having to reposition my thumb every five seconds because I went one millimeter too far.

    • Austin Riddle

      I also find the movement to be a tad too far left.  I heard they were fixing this in a patch though to let you place the buttons where you like.  That would be ideal!

  • Anonymous

    The game is good but the movement control needs work and there's WAY too much grinding.

  • Anonymous

    Earning cash is to hard and controls are clumsy at best, infuriating at worst. I miss being able to seek refuge in houses. At least it made sense I could get ammo and cash from a house. Getting shot gun shells from shooting a lawn mower is stupid. I went back to zombiezville one for pure fun of it.

    • Austin Riddle

      I average about 1500-2100 cash a level (8-10).  I almost find things too cheap, since I can have anygun fully upgraded in about 30 minutes.

  • Austin Riddle

    I seriously want to hate this game, but I just can't, it's so damn fun!

  • Tim Dyer

    My only issue is the zombies aren't worth any money, other then the few that drop cash upon killing them unlike the original. I've found that I just max out the sprint perk and run through levels breaking trash cans for cash instead of shot gun'ing zombies. More of a "Zombie Avoider" then a "Zombie Shooter"...give me a reason to cap a zom other then a new level.

    That being said...it's nice to be able to break out the "EAT LEAD ZOMBIE BOY" phrase while mowing down legions of undead. All and all, Mika does it again!

    • http://twitter.com/artfoundry David Markowitz

      The devs have already submitted a fix that is supposed to add more drops from the zombies (and I'm guessing will fix the controls too).  

      What disappoints me is the lack of risk in the game.  The first one had some strategy and suspense involved because once you died, game over.  Not so in this game - dying really has no effect except to keep you from getting a higher score.  I don't care much about scores, so, dying is pretty meaningless, which means there's no sense of urgency except to get as much money as possible.

      • Tim Dyer

        I agree. I'm not big on achievements and score boards...so other then level progression...killing zombies is kind of pointless to me. Good new about the update though. I think they could go with their OMG Ninja format. Progressive levels that require each stage to be cleared followed by a boss fight at the end. They could still keep the cash grinding for those who like it.

        Just to say this, I do love the game, I'm not bashing Mika. I don't want to ruffle any feathers.

  • Anonymous

    There are some mild complaints above that I never thought about that, now are in in my mind, I am a little disappointed with as well. That being said, I have not had a dull moment in this game, with the near 10-15 hours I have spent with it. It is, especially for $.99 freaking cents, amazing. It is soooo addictive and so much fun. Mika Mobile, simply put, outdid themselves in the Zombieville series.

    That being said, I tried to play with my Wife this weekend, and as a casual gamer, she absolutely hated it. She didn't like the free-roam controls, she didn't like the fact that you have to grind so much to get money to upgrade, and she really just didn't have any fun at all. (in comparison to the first one, which she absolutely loved to death) =(

  • http://profiles.google.com/godboubs Brandon Godbout

    did anyone else loose there data after a day or two?

  • Peter Wilson

    I still haven't decided if I like this game or not. I like the graphics and the upgrades, but everything seems a little bit too big now. I'm still getting used to the thumb control. As people say, it's a bit sensitive. How, for $0.99, this is a great buy and there is still a lot of fun to be had. Well worth the purchase.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FCB4VTHQ2YRO2HQOBMH6SXUE2U Tony

    easiest way to get money is have the sprint perk fully upgraded, magnum fully upgraded and flashbangs along with the fully upgraded daddy warbucks perk. you could just run right through level 10 flashing zombies and picking up money from the cones, boxes and other stuff. Most i ever got from doin that was $4000
     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FCB4VTHQ2YRO2HQOBMH6SXUE2U Tony

    i pretty much have every gun fully upgraded and almost every perk fully upgraded. also for any of those who don't know, some weapons do change when theyre fully upgraded such as the fire axe, baseball bat, shotgun (not slug shotgun) and sniper. 

  • Adam Geesaman

    This game is addictive and a lot of fun.  It's great when you have at least 3-5 minutes to play, or if you're like me, 30 minutes later you're still playing just to unlock the next weapon upgrade or perk upgrade.  Zombies beware...I'm coming for ya!

  • Anonymous

    The developer is a tool. I won't be buying anymore of his games.

Zombieville USA 2 Reviewed by Brad Nicholson on . Rating: 5