OMG Zombies! Review

OMG Zombies! is an entertaining but ultimately flawed game that will keep you entertained until its hard levels make you quit out of frustration.

Video games about zombies are so ubiquitous that pretty much any genre has been infected by the post-apocalyptic premise. Some of these genres include first-person shooters (Bohemia Interactive’s DayZ,) point-and-click adventure games (Telltale’s The Walking Dead,) tower defense games (Popcap’s Plants vs Zombies,) and third-person shooters (Resident Evil 6.) But if there’s one genre in particular that we don’t usually associate with the shambling creatures is probably strategy games. Enter OMG Zombies!, a slow-paced strategy game where you need to think carefully before shooting.

Environments are varied and creative.

Environments are varied and creative.

As in most zombie games, the story is simple enough. In this case, a mad scientist is studying a rare plant that releases pollen when other creatures come near it. The released pollen acts as a poison that kills the creature, but then the plant uses the dead body as a host that spreads the disease. Naturally, the scientist uses a test subject to see how the plant reacts when coming in contact with a human being. Long story short, the human becomes a zombie and spreads the infection all over the world.

The game’s set in Redfield, USA where you assume the role of a police officer who wants to escape the zombie-infested metropolis. You’re basically a trained sniper who shoots zombies from afar, causing a chain reaction and killing dozens of zombies with the limited ammo you have at your disposal. As you clear levels, you earn money you can use to upgrade your weapons or the damage you make to specific classes of zombies.

The story is told via comic-book panels.

The story is told through comic-book panels.

There are different types of zombies and each class behaves differently. Some explode, other create an electrical fence that kills anything that comes in contact with it, others launch their limbs as if they were grenades, former police officers shoot their guns in random directions and so on. Overall, there are eight types of zombies and it’s your job to study each level to know which zombies to target first, in order to cause as much chaos as possible. Most levels are puzzles where you need to figure out the most effective way to kill as many zombies as possible. Usually, this means shooting an explosive barrel to ignite a beautifully satisfying chain reaction.

Although OMG Zombies! might not give the impression of being too strategic, its looks can be deceiving. Shooting zombies causes chain reactions, but which zombie should you shoot first can be the difference between a successful round and a terrible one. But when you finally manage to cause a massive chain reaction that makes dozens of undead get shot, explode or electrocute, the game becomes an eminently satisfying mess.

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Some levels end in a bloody mess.

But despite what the initial moments of OMG Zombies! lead you to believe, the game isn’t without its issues. The game behaves in capricious ways sometimes and even if you were expecting a scenario to take place in a very specific way, this almost never happens. There’s a certain randomness to the levels that makes winning a matter of luck. Restarting a level means that the placement of zombies and exploding barrels changes, so sometimes, beating a level in a matter of seconds or spending minutes in it is totally random.

It’s worth pointing out that you start playing the only level available and as you beat more levels, the path starts branching out until you unlock multiple endings. To clear a level and unlock additional ones, you need a bronze medal or better (75% of killed zombies or more.) The problem is that some of the latter levels are quite hard and if you don’t manage to beat them, you won’t unlock additional levels.

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The difficulty increases as you progress through the game.

Finally, the core concept of the game gets old really quick. As you progress, the game rewards you with money you can use to improve your rifle and the damage you make to specific types of zombies. But eventually, generating chains becomes more and more difficult and since every bullet counts, making a single mistake is the difference between winning or losing a level. As levels become more and more difficult, scenarios infested with zombies become less and less common and you don’t get to experience those massive explosion anymore.

OMG Zombies! uses one of the most popular tropes of our favorite media and uses it for something creative and unique. The result is an entertaining, but ultimately flawed game that will keep you entertained until its hard levels frustrate you. Unfortunately, once frustration set is, it never leaves.