Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: Zombie Estate

Zombie Estate 80 MSP

Zombie Estate
  • XBLIV Rating - GOLD
  • Developer - JeremyVerchick48
  • Genre - Shooter
  • Release Date - 5/15/2010
  • Price - 80 MSP
  • XBL Marketplace URL Zombie Estate
    "Survive 25 waves of zombies in this retro-3D shooter! 30 characters to choose from, over 20 weapons at your disposal, and thousands of zombies to kill! Play with up to 4 players in this action-packed adventure! Can you survive in Zombie Estate?!"
                                                                                           --Xbox Live Marketplace Description

    I. Summary
    Zombie Estate is a fan favorite for a very good reason--it's highly addictive and provides a challenge unlock most shooter games on the XBL Indie Games marketplace. With up to four-player co-op, this shoot-em-up is sure to please even those that aren't fans of the shooter genre.

    The graphics are retro-style and they deliver a pleasant blend of nostalgia and creepiness to fit in with the overall "zombie" theme. Fight hoardes of evil creatures that get stronger and stronger as you get farther in the game--however you're aided with better and better artillery with each passing wave. All in all, Zombie Estate has something for all gamers and is entertaining for all ages.

    Image from Zombie Estate

    II. Game Mechanics
    This particular Indie Game functions like most classic survivalist horror shooter games--you get a pool of lives and different weapons, and must find strategic ways to slaughter the incoming masses of enemies. Reminiscent of old NES games we all grew up with, Zombie Estate has an expansive 3D environment that you can navigate through as well as many obstacles to hide behind--and of course there is the estate mansion that serves as a safe house of sorts.

    Basically you must dispatch every single undead in any given wave to move onwards to the next wave, and after each progression the monsters upgrade and get stronger. After each round you are also allowed to purchase ammunition and artillery from the shop. As you kill monsters and undead you attain currency which can be traded in for ammo and guns at the shop. There are a number of unique weapons to choose from, and as you progress to higher waves the guns get stronger and more awesome...yet they are also more costly.

    Choose from thirty different characters, each with a unique avatar representation--wacky and random characters add a sense of fun to the game, as you can use Bob the alien to cut down hoardes of skeletons and zombies with what appears to be a holy super soaker XD.

    As you kill enemies they drop items such as health, ammunition, and currency. There are various types of ammuniton for each type of weapon; rocket launchers use rockets, etc. Items will disappear after a certain amount of time, so if an item is blinking, do your best to get to it before it diminishes.

    Image from Zombie Estate

    III. Weapons/Items
    To me it is the weaponry that makes this game most fun. When you get around 10k-15k dollars you can afford some of the best weapons and enhance your entertainment to greater lengths. Even acquiring the Rocket Launcher adds a new way to enjoy the game by allowing you to kill multiple enemies with one shot.

    Another interesting weapon is the main default starting weapon--the pistol. This gun doesn't run out of ammunition--it is infinite, and has a very high reload rate but a average fire rate. At the beginning it's very useful but it loses its utility as the monsters get stronger and stronger. It's great for a back-up weapon or to use to finish off a weakened enemy.

    The assault rifles are incredibly useful yet they use ammunition very fast, so it's best to use them sparsely. The shotgun does devstatingly high damage up close, and it can shred groups of enemies, too. All the weapons have their own unique firing rate, accuracy, reload rate, etc. to ensure that a fair and balanced weapon system is in place.

    The Items are basically power-ups that enemies drop when they're killed, and you walk over them in the battle field to pick them up. These power-ups are ammo, health, and currency. Health packs can also be bought at the Shop for a nominal fee.

     Image from Zombie Estate 

    IV. Story Line
    Zombie Estate is lacking in a story line--however this is yet another example of a game that doesn't need a good story line to be excellent and enteratining. As I haven't finished the game yet (I've gotten close, yet it's quite hard to play solo) I'm not exactly sure if there's an official ending or not. I'll update this posting again once I've beaten the game.

    V. Unique Features

    This zombie shoot-em-up Indie game has many unique features that are implemented in it's gameplay. The expansive 3D environments that you can navigate and roam while killing zombies and other undead is superbly mapped and it allows for more of a strategic playing style rather than a blank field or room. The crosshair is another feature that is very useful and for this directional-shooter and you can change your line of sight at any time which makes it useful when enemies sneak up behind you.

    When you attack enemies they are injured and damaged from each shot--if they are weakened they will be disfigured and bloodied. This allows a player to distinguish a strong enemy from a potential easy kill, and it's useful when you have to weigh your shots and decisions carefully.

    4-Player Co-Op is what makes this game so immensely fun--you can pwn wave after wave if you have a team that works together and shares the drops, however once you get to the truly challenging waves it becomes a loot ninja battle for ammunition. Still, it's an awesome feature which more games of this genre should have.

    The music in Zombie Estate is incredible. I enjoy every note that's played throughout and it truly imbibes a sense of doom and creepiness. You really feel like you're there, in that zombie apocalypse world, defending yourself from undead ghouls. The sound effects are also implemented very well and the gunfire is great too.

    Replayability is another factor that is unique about this game, since you can beat it over and over and over and each time do things differently. Sure the monsters will always be in the same order, but that doesn't mean they'll always do the same things. Every wave offers a new opportunity to kick some serious zombie ass or become zombie-food--the choice is up to you.

     Image from Zombie Estate

    VI. Wrap-Up

    Basically Zombie Estate set itself apart from the slew of other "zombie" titles on the XBL Indie Game Marketplace in many ways, but the key aspect is that it delivers so much for such a little asking price. 80 MSP is a steal for this game, An instant classic in terms of gameplay dynamics and the all-important fun factor, Zombie Estate proves itself time and time again especially with the 4-player Co-Op feature. With infinite replayability and challenging waves that get harder and harder as you play, this directional-shooter will provide hours of entertainment for all shooter fans out there, especially those that enjoy the low-res retro ones.

    Skeptical? Want to try Zombie Estate out for yourself? Visit this link to download the Free Trial and find out why everyone loves it.
     Zombie Estate

    Remember, Try Before You Buy to avoid being disappointed!


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