Zombie IAP — oops, I mean Zombie HQ — is supposedly a twin-stick shooter/RPG that intends to cash in — quite literally — on the zombie apocalypse craze. But, you know, zombies. What am I doing to do, not try it?
After the jump, shambling stinking inevitability
Zombie HQ is built from a pretty rudimentary 3D engine. That’s the polite way to say it. There’s really no polite way to explain the controls, which involve sliding, tapping, sliding, and tapping. For easy missions, it doesn’t matter. For harder missions, you just sort of spazz out and hope for the best. Reloading your weapon either requires single-tapping an icon, double-tapping an icon, or fervently hoping. Usually a combination of the three. I’d have thought Space Miner solved the twin-stick shooter issue for iOS games by now, but apparently not.
However, the twin-stick zombie shootering is really just a formality. This “game” is more about waiting for your energy to build up so you can do more missions to earn more zombiebucks to buy the stuff that isn’t as good as the stuff you can buy with the coins that cost real world money. Zombie HQ will let you slowly grind away at its hundreds of buyable bits, but what it really wants is for you to microbuy improved charater stats, better weapons, costume pieces, and furniture for your eponymous zombie headquarters. To their credit, developer Rebellion knows how to thread all these systems neatly together into a steady dripfeed of minor rewards. But they’re mercenary enough to make sure it constantly pushes you towards buying something. It’s the shambling stinking inevitably of a free-to-play game.
For instance, the bonus missions are all about how long you’re willing to wait, which is like the difference between planting potatoes or strawberries in a Facebook game. Do you play more frequently and therefore grow potatoes? Or are you a once-a-day strawberry farmer? A good zombie game shouldn’t ask that question. A good zombie game should ask “shotgun or assault rifle?”. But Zombie HQ confronts you with the same decisions as any Farmville clone.
It’s telling that the first thing you see when you boot up Zombie HQ is an advertisement for something that isn’t Zombie HQ. See how this sets the tone.
It’s also telling that Zombie HQ is willing to accommodate even the most egregious whales.
And if you think you can just ignore this stuff and merrily shotgun a few zombies a day, just wait until you stumble onto the mandatory waiting period after buying a firearm. Here’s what happens when you buy a shotgun, for instance.
Although it’s technically not mandatory when you can buy your way around it. The bottom line is that Zombie HQ is not a game. It’s a shameless business model.