Mixing the sweet and innocent story of Little Red Riding Hood with flesh eating zombies seems like one hell of a creative idea. And for the most part, it is. However, there are some major flaws with this game that really cripple the overall experience.
The player plays as Little Red Riding Hood, or her ninja-star throwing Japanese friend, in a vertical “on the rails” shooter. Restricted to the very bottom of the screen, the player only has the ability to move left and right, not up or down, through the use of the d-pad. All shooting is performed by tapping the stylus, giving the player accurate shooting capabilities. The goal of each stage is to start at Point A and reach Point B while shooting everything in your path…at least, that is kind of what the game wants you to do.
The game’s first major problem is the lack of any type of scoring feature. Because there is no reward or no penalty for shooting zombies, the player can simply move left and right to dodge all incoming baddies. To make matters worse, the game scrolls at a very slow pace, making dodging enemies an easy action to perform. The game does not even keep track of combos, or more importantly, accuracy. With a game initially designed around action and blasting the crap out of the undead, the overall design of the gameplay suffers tremendously because shooting, unfortunately, is treated as an optional task when all gameplay should be focused around it.
Besides making shooting optional and having scrolling speed of a snail, shooting is both frustrating and inconsistent. When the stylus is pressed onto the touch screen, Little Red will shoot her machine gun, but instead of being a balls-out action shooter, the player must reload every three seconds. Reloading is easy, just let go and re-touch the screen, but constantly interrupting what should be the most entertaining aspect of this game is now completely destroyed. Can you imagine playing Contra or Gradius if you needed to reload after every three seconds of gun fire? Yeah, I think not.
Perhaps the best part about this game are the large boss battles. Taking a note from Treasure developed titles, bosses (or mini bosses) sometimes take up the whole screen(s). But there is always a problem when shooting from the bottom screen to the top because they just do not line up correctly. A game like this also screams out to be played cooperatively with another player, another feature that is lacking from the final package.
Graphically, the game supports a unique art style composed mostly of 2D sprites that, unfortunately, repeat often. Don’t expect to find a stellar musical track either although it is decent enough considering it is a budget title ($19.99).
Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ is one creative idea that suffers from lack of follow through. If you want to make a shoot’em up action game, then why do you need to reload every three seconds, why doesn’t the game keep track of my score, how come there is no grade at the end of each level, and why is there no co-op play? This is one game that could have been so much more if these few gameplay elements were implemented into the final product. Instead, DS owners are given another lackluster stylus shooter.