Zombie games are still a big deal and it continues to blow my mind that this is the case. What hasn't been done in a zombie game? Think about it. We've shot zombies and we've cut zombies. We've set zombies on fire. We've run over zombies and cured zombies and beat zombies with baseball bats. We've even participated as part of the horde in games like Valve's Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Over the last few years, there's not much we haven't done to or with zombies across multiple genres, including puzzle and even tower defense. This thought has crossed my mind several times: what can a brand new zombie game even offer outside of a slight twist on what we've done before?

And then Brainsss [$2.99] shambles along and shatters this idea in my head that zombie games are lame because there's just nothing left to do in them that we haven't done trillions of times in a billion different games. Brainsss offers something new in the space, and its core action is rich enough for me to give it a solid recommendation, despite cooling on this zombie ... craze we're still in.

Brainsss is a top-down strategy game where you control a horde of zombies on quests to assimilate people into your horde. In order to do this, you'll need to treat the ever-growing horde like a fleet, splitting it up into pieces so you can trap victims spread across the game's myriad of labyrinthine levels, which are often brimming with helpless survivors who are ready to bolt the second they see snarling beasts approaching. As you convert more people, you'll be able to meaningfully split your horde into even more groups.

There are a few change of pace design elements that compliment the strategy. The "RAGE" meter in particular is hip. As you do damage, you'll be able to enter into a berserk mode that ramps up your horde's speed and intensity. On the other hand, the mission design is sharp, too. In one level, you might be stopping survivors from feeling to a helicopter. In others, you're chomping on scientists who were incredibly fleet of foot before running into your horde. Another neat twist: Brainnsss also rocks NPCs that can harm your horde, like police officers and backyard pugilists that you have to disarm in specific ways.

Brainsss biggest problem is probably its habit of skewing casual. You're not going to feel like you're the smartest undead general ever while trapping dudes. The controls can be a bit spotty as well. To split your horde, you need to "paint" over part of it, and then point to a new location in the level. Grabbing a specific amount can be a hassle if your horde is bunched tightly. Otherwise, the point-and-paint controls are bliss: this is a game that feels like and operates like a game designed for iPad and iPhone.

If you're still into zombie games, or just need to check another thing you've done with zombies off of your mental checklist, feel free to check this out. Brainnsss strategy and action feel pretty unique in a space that's been done to undeath, and they probably really pop outside of this vacuum. I can dig it, at least.

TouchArcade Rating

  • http://twitter.com/ZEROFACES Dreimos Heijnen

    Bought it the other night when it released on a whim, been I'm really enjoying it so far =^D

    The concept of being the Zombies infecting the humans is just awesome! The controls work well enough, however managing multiple groups can get a little stressful. But I guess it fits in with the whole thrill of a Zombie chase, right?

    I'm playing on my iPad 3'rd Gen, so my positive experience may differ from people on iPods/iPhones. 

  • http://methylblue.com Max Howell

    Love the look of it, but I think I'll wait for an update where they improve the controls.

  • Ukyo Kazuki

    I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M7HPZQN2QW3KNY5NXAHRMSJDSM Doug

    Well, tell Jared I take back what I said on his recent article about the word 'myriad'. Apparently, there's somebody else on staff that uses it incorrectly. I was wrong to assume (though accurately) that the article I was reading last week was by Jared, simply because it incorrectly used 'myriad', and Jared had incorrectly used it more than once previously. 

    Myriad is a synonym of 'many' and should be used precisely as such. Or, even better, never at all. It's a grandstanding word that has no place with 'many' around.

    • Silverfist Jewelry

      "Incorrectly" is too long and complicated a word, and shouldn't be used as long as the word "wrong" exists. Don't be a snob.

      (As to your actual complaint -- yes, the "of" should have been left out [or even omitted, if you don't mind me using such a highfalutin' word] but it's a relatively harmless mistake in the grand scheme of things.)


    • Benegesserit

      Grandstanding is also a grandstanding word, hypocrite.

  • http://twitter.com/rhstevenson Robert H Stevenson

    Bought this game thanks to your review. Very good, but I agree with the others, controls are sub-par. I would be much better at the game were it possible to accurately select different groups of zombies 😉 Hopefully the early sales will give momentum to an update soon!

    • Rod Green

      Hi Robert,
      I'm glad you liked the game but I would like to know what you're exact issues are with the controls?  What do you think is broken about them? Is it just that it's missing on screen group buttons?

      Feel free to email me directly at rod [@] lonelyfew {dot} com

  • http://profiles.google.com/fleshman1992 Laszlo Tuss

    I will get this as soon as it have a discount.
    Don't get wrong, 3 bucks isn't too much, but i just got a lot of games what i pay for, so i have a lot to play 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/woodesh matthew wood

    not one mention of I, zombie on the Xbox 360. this games a blatant clone of an underrated  gem.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

      Makes one wonder why the developer didn't release it for iOS

    • roddgreen

      Hi Matthew,

      This game 'I, Zombie' came out December 2011.

      We have been developing Brainsss for a little over two years - if you don't believe me you can read our blog http://www.brainsss.com/blog/ where our first post was from December 2010.

      To say that we 'created' the game idea based on another game that came out less than 6 months ago is really nieve. 

      Now I do agree there are similarities between I, Zombie and our game but this is the first time I ever even knew it existed - so it's just not possible in any sense of the word.

Brainsss Reviewed by Brad Nicholson on . Rating: 4.5