Review: Zombie Night Terror Unleashes the Undead Upon the World
We’re all familiar with the undead apocalypse by now, aren’t we? We’ve all played the games – we’re a survivor, we fight to keep ourselves alive (often against other survivors), and either we are immune to the infection or we have to protect someone who is. Well not here, not with Zombie Night Terror. In Zombie Night Terror we are the apocalypse!
Created by the good people at NoClip, Zombie Night Terror is an enjoyable zombie-based puzzle platformer that will see players spreading terror throughout various stages as they strive to solve the many brain tingling puzzles. The survivors will not go gentle into that good night, fighting to survive against the growing horde of flesh eating monsters; As the monsters mutate, so too must the remnants of humanty evolve to face this threat of the undead.
It all starts outside a movie theatre as a trio of movie goers are looking to add a kick to their evening with a new, highly popular drug known as ‘Romero’ (George A. Romero being considered the father of modern zombie culture). Unfortunately, this particular sample is tainted and our main character quickly becomes Patient Zero, the first of the undead. This is the way the world ends; not with a bang but… well, not a whimper either, more of a snarl really.
Each level is a puzzle just waiting to be solved by any means necessary – you could infect every human in sight; complete the main objective; or do what I tried to do which was to infect everybody as well as completing the bonus objective as well. The game will have players utilising a small range of abominations and various abilities to spread the infection with the aim of overcoming the population, but of course it won’t be that simple – You will also have to keep at least one of your rotting fiends ‘alive’ (shut up, you know what I mean), which may seem easy, but the surviving humans are well equipped to ruin the end of days.
The gameplay itself is relatively straightforward – your undead swarm will stagger around the level until you, the other-worldly god of death and destruction, arrange the environment in such a way to allow your mob to advance. You will need to mutate and / or sacrifice your infected abominations to succeed, and also occasionally show a little bit of patience (it’s a virtue and can go a long way, c’mon). Levels contain both a primary objective (more often than not to spread the infection), and a unique side-objective which can include killing a specific class of human (e.g. gunners), maybe killing a special character, or even destroying certain vehicles.
The game will undoubtedly remind many gamers of the classic puzzle-platformer Lemmings, which is by no means a bad thing; in fact, it’s a wonderful thing. It has been way too long since we’ve had a decent Lemmings style game to enjoy. Having said that, Zombie Night Terror is a fantastic game in its own right and is more than capable of standing up on its own merits without being compared to anything else.
I have to say, the level design is rather good; Not too difficult yet not mind numbingly easy either, though it will increase in difficulty as you advance. Some levels you will find yourself breezing through, while others will have you committing to multiple attempts as you try your damnedest to not lose your minions to well armed survivors or dangerous terrain. Thankfully, due to the fact that this game will have you reattempting levels over and over (particularly to achieve those bonus objectives), the game allows you to fast-forward time because, let’s be honest, waiting for the decayed to slowly lurch their way through the level could get more than a little tedious. A pause function is also available for those players that prefer to take their time to plan out a specific route for their monsters to travel, or if y’know, you need to take a break for whatever reason.
So, other than gameplay what can Zombie Night Terror offer? Well, NoClip have included a healthy dose of references to popular culture (I’m a sucker for a good set of references), parodies of well known brand mascots – keep an eye out for a certain fast food clown, and a terrific sense of humour. The game is chock-full of small additions such as these that are sure to brighten your gameplay experience (ignoring the fact that your main objective is to destroy humanity, duh).
The humour is definitely on point in this game. I, for one, enjoy silly jokes that will make me facepalm (in a good way, not in disgust). There are more than a healthy handful of comical moments during the cutscenes which I’ll let you discover for yourselves, and a great selection of dialogue. When you play the game make sure that you pay particular attention to the breaking news stories during the television reports, I laughed more than once while reading them; and I am rather amused by the way survivors run for their lives away from the flesh eating ghouls.
I very much enjoy the art for Zombie Night Terror. Not only the wonderful backgrounds, but also the animations for each of the various beings – the abominations, the gunners, the civilians, and the bosses. I absolutely love the use of greyscale in this game including the limited use of blood red, the eerie green glow of Romero and the power-ups. The sparse use of actual colour really creates quite the impact when they do appear on screen; they don’t come across as too invasive to the aesthetic in the slightest, and actually fit nicely. As you can see in the above GIF, the character / zombie sprites flow very nicely into the next frame. Pixel art seems to be enjoying quite a bit of popularity lately and in my humble opinion, Zombie Night Terror employs it well; so kudos to the game’s artists.
I must also congratulate the sound artist for doing a fine job on this game. The background music is terrifically ominous and helps to create a sufficiently creepy atmosphere for a game such as this. Throw in the ambient sounds, the general audio assets such as the lifts, doors, etc…, and you have yourselves a great set of sounds to help increase the enjoyment of the product and breathe life into this world. One other thing that I must mention is the brilliant language the humans speak; it is not dissimilar to Simlish, but never-the-less I enjoy it, and think it was a good choice for the developers to go for.
So all in all what do I think about this game? Well, it’s bloody good fun. I love the humour, the art style, and the music. Very well done to the people over at NoClip, and I wish them every success with this game (not that they need any luck). With 40 enjoyable puzzle filled levels and bonus challenges within said levels, this game offers players hours of gruesome fun as they wreak death and mayhem upon the Earth. Remember, the only way to survive the apocalypse is to be the apocalypse.
Zombie Night Terror is available from the Steam store on PC and Mac now for £9.99.
Image Credits: NoClip, Gambitious Digital Entertainment.