We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank NoClip and Gambitious Digital Entertainment for the review copy of Zombie Night Terror used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
When I was growing up one of my favorite games was Lemmings. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, you basically were the leader of a group of Lemmings. Your goal was to lead the Lemmings from the start to the exit. The Lemmings were basically mindless drones who just moved in a straight line until they ran into a wall or died. You as the player was in charge of a group of abilities that you could give to specific Lemmings in order to help make a path to the exit. Some of these abilities included building steps, digging, and directing Lemmings to turn around. Even though Lemmings was a pretty hard game (especially for a kid) I loved the game.
Lemmings was pretty popular game in the early 1990s. Like a lot of old video game genres though, the genre died out pretty quickly. With the influx of indie games though a lot of old video game genres have been brought back from the dead. Unfortunately the Lemmings formula is one of those genres that has been neglected for the most part. That is until Zombie Night Terror.
In Zombie Night Terror there has been a zombie outbreak in the city. Usually this would mean that you need to stop the zombies, but in Zombie Night Terror you are leading the zombies. Each level begins with you having a small group of zombies. Your goal is to guide these zombies toward their objectives which usually is reaching a certain objective or killing a certain amount of humans. Each human you kill turns into a zombie so by weakening the resistance you are growing the strength of your army.
Zombie Night Terror is reminiscent of Lemmings in your ability to control your army of undead soldiers. Like the Lemmings your zombies are pretty stupid. They will walk in a straight line until they run into an obstacle or they get killed. You have to give the zombies directions on what they are supposed to do or they will just walk in a line and attack any humans they encounter. Zombie Night Terror streamlines some of the mechanics from Lemmings allowing you to change switches on doors and stairs to tell your zombies whether to break down the doors or go up the stairs without having to use specific zombies to do these tasks. Other zombie abilities use a DNA pool which can be replenished by sacrificing some of your zombies. This DNA pool is used to give you zombies special orders. One ability creates overlords which tell zombies which direction to move in. Additional abilities can be added to overlords which give them additional abilities such as being able to throw zombies. There are also abilities to make zombies jump, explode to destroy barriers, among other abilities.
Before getting into the rest of the review I would like to talk about the fact that while Zombie Night Terror plays like Lemmings, the theme is considerably different. While Lemmings was carefree for the whole family (outside the Lemming deaths caused by you), Zombie Night Terror is a much more adult game. Although the game uses pixel art, the game is somewhat violent. The game’s dialog also has some swearing in it. There is nothing wrong with the game for older audiences but it is not the type of game that I would let children play.
Being a fan of the Lemmings franchise I have to say that Zombie Night Terror is the type of game that I have been looking forward to for a long time. While the game plays slightly different, the basics are the same. Zombie Night Terror benefits from new developments in the industry and improves a lot on the Lemmings formula. The game has streamlined some of the movement mechanics and has improved on other features from Lemmings.
The area I think the game improved most on Lemmings is that instead of being given a designated amount of each type of ability at the beginning of a level, the game uses the DNA system. I really like this addition since it gives you a little flexibility in how to address a level. The levels are still pretty straightforward but you have a little more choice in what abilities you want to use. If you ever run out of DNA you can sacrifice some zombies to get more DNA so you won’t get into a situation where you run out of an ability that you need to reach the end of the level.
I really enjoyed Zombie Night Terror and people with fond memories of the Lemmings franchise should love the game as well. The game is not going to be for everyone though. Zombie Night Terror is one of those type of games that aren’t for everyone. The game is basically a puzzle game where you need to figure out the correct method of approaching the level to complete it. Zombie Night Terror is more of a thinking puzzle game than an action game.
While I have never been a huge fan of the zombie genre, I have to give the game credit for the theme. While the game is a little on the violent side (for a pixel based game), the art style is great. I love how the game mostly utilizes black for everything which makes the blood really stand out when you kill the humans. The game has such a great graphical style. The story is also interesting even though I am not close to completing it yet. Basically the story is reminiscent of your old school zombie movies. I like that a lot of the story is told through cheesy breaking news stories as well.
While I really enjoyed Zombie Night Terror, the game is not perfect. That is due to the game’s difficulty. The game may look easy but it isn’t. This isn’t a game that you can just wing it and win. You need to plan ahead of time in order to beat a level. If you just go into a level without a plan you will lose. Thankfully the game has a pause button that lets you take some time to plan out your strategy. Even the best laid plans don’t guarantee success though. Zombie Night Terror relies pretty heavily on trial and error. You will likely have to play most of the levels multiple times in order to figure out what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
While the game is frustrating at times, it usually feels pretty fair. You usually fail because you approached the level in the wrong way. Just one mistake can end the level for you since the humans with weapons can decimate your zombies quickly. At times it is hard to keep track of what all of your zombies are doing at a particular time. The good news is that you can usually see what you did wrong when you fail and you can fix those mistakes in future attempts which will help you get further in the level.
One thing I wish the game would have had though was some sort of checkpoint system. The problem with one mistake ruining a level is that you could make no mistakes throughout the entire level and then a small mistake at the end of a level will make you fail and you will lose all of your progress. I don’t know how they could have implemented it but a checkpoint system would have been nice so you don’t lose all of your progress on a level due to one mistake. None of the levels are super long but it would have been nice not having to repeat the same parts of levels just because you keep messing up one part of a level.
Length wise I would say that you are getting quite a bit of content out of Zombie Night Terror. I have been playing for around two hours and I think I have only played around a fourth to a fifth of the levels just by looking at the menu. When you add in the fact that the game will likely get more difficult I would guess that the game will take around 10+ hours to complete. The game also has some replay value as you can revisit the levels to try and complete the additional objective in each level. These additional objectives are pretty hard so you will likely have to go back to quite a few levels in order to complete all of them if you wanted to.
While Zombie Night Terror is not a perfect game, it is a really good game. If you have been looking for a Lemmings style game, Zombie Night Terror is it. The game is not going to be for everyone since it is more of a niche genre. The game is also kind of hard with a high reliance on trial and error. Despite being difficult Zombie Night Terror is just such a fun game that took a long forgotten video game genre and actually improved on it. If you were looking for a Lemmings style game or think the game is interesting and don’t mind a challenge, I would highly recommend picking up Zombie Night Terror.