Take a dash of Geometry Wars, throw in some zombie movie references, and a pinch of insanity and you may end with something like Burn Zombie Burn. Although the game itself has more in common with Zombies Ate My Neighbors than it does with Geometry Wars in both mechanics and tone which means it plays like something that came out in the 90’s.
The art style is probably one of the few things that makes the game manageable; cartoonie to its core it seems to allow an environment that zombies would rise from the ground with flashing lights on their head and explode when shot. The art works as a cohesion that holds the game together and allows it to get away with pretty much everything it does, even if it is the game’s nameless avatar picking up a lawn mower to mow down countless zombies just like Dead Alive.
The in jokes and slight references is the only other thing that works to the advantage of the game. Lumbering giant monsters that look like something from Resident Evil to space ships that appear to steal zombies off the stage like something from Zombies Ate My Neighbors all are subtle nodes to things that seemingly inspired the game to become what it is. Even when special weapons or buttons are used that cause all of the zombies to dance like something out of thriller, it all just seems to add to a warm feeling of found gaming and youth memories of days past.
Although when all of that wears off all that is really left is a semi-functional top down shooter that doesn’t seem to like it when the player uses a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard. What amounts to a game that wants to be a dual stick shooter it seems odd that when a 360 controller is plugged into the PC the right stick doesn’t do anything at all. The game manages with an odd “lock on” button that lets a player target one zombie at a time, although the enemy targeted seems to be entirely up to the computer and mainly random.
While the game does manage to be playable with a controller, and entirely functional with a mouse and keyboard, what doesn’t ever seem to make sense is the scoring system. Many levels require a very high score to unlock the next stage, normally a minimum of something in the hundreds of thousands range, and when one zombie kill gives between 10 and 100 points that can take a rather long time. What makes this worse is how the game decides on combos, series of zombie kills that can give the player a chunk of points, and how they are awarded. Several times it would be possible to make it to wave 15 and almost have the required points advance to the next level, and when that same level was played again it took almost to wave 60 before the same amount of points could be acquired. All of this basically will randomly make a level last between a handful of minutes to well past wave 150, also known as the point that the experience has long since stopped being fun.
The game is 10 dollars, which seems about right for the maximum amount of enjoyable this game is able to deliver. While it does stop well before becoming terrible in any way it also doesn’t really do any massive favors for itself. People who need another zombie game in their lives to make it through the day will find something to love about this, although for everyone else it is just kind of sad that the nostalgia is way better than the device being used to evoke it.
Not As Good As: The one on the PS3
Also Try: Geometry Wars
Wait For It: Left 4 Dead 3