Over 9000 Zombies! is a top-down action shooter published by Mastertronic and developed by Loren Lemcke. Over 9000 Zombies! pits the player in an apocalyptic world where unending swarms of zombies want to gnaw on your sweet brains. This looks to be the developers first go at the indie game franchise on Steam; it’s not a bad one either. Mastertronic has published quite a few other indie title currently available on the Steam store and seems to be building that brand steadily. Let’s get down to brass tacks and find out what it takes to survive in a land with Over 9000 Zombies!
This is an indie title, and my expectations aren’t usually high when I play these games. It’s nice to keep my expectations low since it allows me to be pleasantly surprised when I find a good one. This is a good one for sure! The game is simple in its construction. Over 9000 Zombies! takes the player back to a time like that of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System)–a time when things were simple and those were fancy graphics. The pixel style works well for what the the game is trying to accomplish. What is it trying to accomplish? Sending hordes of zombies that you need to kill to survive. That’s it, just survive. Over 9000 Zombies! gives you loads of guns to defend yourself and simultaneously understands the scope and size of the zombie waves. Because it has this understanding, it also features some tower defense mechanisms for added variety.
Over 9000 Zombies! allows the player to free-roam the world and find ideal choke points, defensive buildings, etc. It allows the player to use strategies in a way that most top-down shooters don’t. Instead of putting your back against a wall and hoping you don’t run out of ammo, the player can hole up in a building and use a variety of turrets and barriers in an attempt to quench the zombies thirst for flesh. Toss in 2-player, online co-op to give yourselves the additional firepower, or make it more interesting by playing 4-player local co-op. All of these elements combined with the games algorithm to send a variety of zombies your way, definitely makes for an intense game play experience. The soundtrack is really nice as well. Instead of going total old school, they opted for a great rockin’ soundtrack to keep up with the intensity of the game. It sounded like there were elements of the old pixel music included, but in a nice mesh with modern sound. Players could easily sit back and play Over 9000 Zombies! just to listen to the soundtrack.
The largest downside I experienced was engagement with Over 9000 Zombies! as it takes some time to get going. The levels are broken down into days. The first couple of days start off slow, and that’s not a bad thing for the inexperience player. It gives new players the chance to get a handle on the controls and an understanding for how the game works. Once you’re an experienced player, it does become a bit tedious, but each and every time you get farther in Over 9000 Zombies! the challenge always comes back. The player has a choice of controls to choose from, which is nice. You can use your mouse or you can choose to use a game controller. The developer description on Steam does admit to there being limited controller functionality. I wouldn’t say that it was limited as much as it was clunky at times. The clunkiness only occurred with movement; there were moments the character would pause for a second mid-motion.
Over 9000 Zombies! took me to a time of my childhood that I truly miss, and I think will do the same for a lot of gamers in similar shoes. For the current generation, it’s a lot of fun as long as you don’t mind the pixel style graphics. I tip my hat to Loren Lemcke and thank Mastertronic for giving him a chance to show off his talents. Also, it may not have been intended, but a title reference to a Dragonball Z line is wonderful, if you don’t agree…I hope Over 9000 Zombies! feasts on your brain.