A refreshing take on a tired genre.
No-one's likely to write to Congress and demand more zombie games any time soon, so it takes a special game to pique our interest and have us dive once more into the world of the undead. Fortunately, developer Making Fun's Zombro is (for the most part) one such game.
What makes Zombro unique as a character is his ability to split his body off into individual parts, each of which possesses unique characteristics. The challenge is to mix and match these different skills in order to solve the combination of puzzles presented by each level, before assembling him into one piece at the exit point. Picking up gasoline cans as you do this allows Zombro to make progress into new stages of what is essential an epic road-trip across the States.
As a complete entity Zombro can't jump, but detach his legs and they can be independently steered around the screen, while a trajectory system that will be familiar to any physics-puzzler fan can be used to send them leaping around the screen. You might use this ability to access a crate, for example, which can then be pushed around the screen and used to plug up a gap that the torso couldn't otherwise have passed over.
All of the steering and leaping commands are made using the touchscreen, except for when you detach Zombro's brain. Do this and you'll switch to gyroscopic mode, where tilting the screen back and forth sends his brain tumbling end-over-end through even the tiniest of tunnels. Sadly, the game does suffer a little with the sensitivity of this control setting, and you'll often find yourself tilting the screen at a ridiculously sharp angle, making it hard to keep an eye of some of the tougher obstacle runs.
Each time you manage to complete a level, Zombro will perform a lovely little celebration dance which might see him yank his brain out and row himself off-screen on it, or throw it to the floor before using it to skate gracefully out of the level. It's very silly, definitely entertaining, and adds plenty of life to this particular undead character.
It's a free game to download, and while Zombro may not be the first title to let itself down a little with a rather cynical approach to in-app purchases, we're pretty sure it won't be the last. In fairness, you do get a big enough chunk of content to get a handle for the value of the game, but any extra map packs you want after finishing that will set you back $0.99 per pack. In-game currency can also be earned through gameplay (or purchased from the store) if you wish to invest in cosmetic upgrades.
We struggled with the gloomy setting of the levels at points, with our errant brains rolling into an almost invisible buzz-saw on more than one occasion. That's fine once you know the obstacle is there, but it does add some unnecessary frustration that takes the shine off the intriguing puzzle layouts. Still, Zombro is a refreshingly different and fun game, with a 50s desert road-trip soundtrack that sets off the puzzling perfectly.
What's Hot: A really fun game with a refreshing twist on both the zombie genre and the puzzle-platforming genre.
What's Not: A little too gloomy at times and the gyroscopic controls could use further tuning.