Zombies, in MY video game?

Its true, he did. ()

It’s true, he did. ()

The oddly titled ‘I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IT!!!1’ is an indie game released on Xbox Live Arcade on August 16th. That is in fact the genuine title of the game, seriously, complete with the spelling errors and the 1 in place of the fourth exclamation mark. This game is very low budget, and never attempts to hide it. Rather than that being a negative, it exudes a level of humility and honesty that is rarely found in independent games these days, and it’s quite endearing.

The game is fairly straightforward enough. The menu screen is heavily pixilated, like the arcade games it aims to emulate, right down to the “INSERT COIN!!11” in bold flashing text. Up to four players are able to sign in to any given game. The controls are simple: Left stick moves your character, the right stick directs and fires your weapon. Anyone who has played Robotron or Geometry Wars should be right at home here. Similarly, the game begins with few enemies that quickly grow into monstrous armies of screen covering death. Each level is synced with the soundtrack, and thus will end and start as each song begins and ends. Although the title would have you believe that zombies will be your primary enemy, that’s not entirely true. After the first stage of the game, many new enemy types will begin to reveal themselves. These range from snakes made of pixilated happy faces that look suspiciously like the dorfs from Dorf Fortress, to asteroids that will break into smaller shards when shot. Also the fifth or sixth level should look extremely familiar to anyone who has played Geometry Wars (complete with pithy techno music). Defeated enemies will drop power-ups that can offer you a small variety of weapons and character augmentations, such as super speed or a shotgun spread for your gun. The weapon choices are pretty balanced, with some definitely being more powerful than others. Basically the spread based weapons will always be useful. Shotguns are the best only way to kill a zombie.

The game starts off looking on par to that of a flash based browser game, which is to say pretty bland, but soon the playing field changes from simple repeating grassland or a scarcely detailed background on par with a default windows desktop, into a smorgasbord of visual confetti synced in concert with the current soundtrack. The designs shift between latticework and neon colors, to a logo of the designers company. It’s very fresh and extremely unexpected when it occurs, so much so that I don’t want to go into too much detail as not to spoil the fun. Every level has its own soundtrack, performed by the game’s creator James Silva. (Silva is also the creator of Dishwasher: Dead Samurai) The music varies from him singing about the game that he has made (with zombies in it) while he jams on his guitar, in a grudge like style, to a hardcore metal scream session that lasts for about two minutes. Oh, and did you hear? The game that he has made has zombies in it. Don’t worry; the song will remind you in case you get stupid.

On the negative side, there is no online play whatsoever, only local fun to be had here. While this would be a sacrilege for any other game to be released in this day and age, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IT!!!1 gets a pass for its exceptional admission price. It’s a whopping $1 (80 Microsoft points). Your mileage with this game will depend on your enjoyment of endless wave shooters or old school arcade games. This game also functions exceptionally as a party game, as a group of friends around this game will definitely share a few laughs while trying to stay alive. The amount of fun to be reaped from this game far exceeds the 100 pennies you’ll put down for it. Try it. Buy it.