Despite being Early Access, Zombie Party has a shedload of content. Four game modes, tons of characters, heaps of guns and huge amounts of madness. And despite a few nit-picks, it truly is a fun game with fully customisable chaos. There is a lot more going on here than the word “zombie” implies.
Peach Pie Productions has created a game more wild than I ever anticipated before loading it up. Zombie Party has barrels full of everything you can imagine. The four game modes are all genuinely different, the guns are all extremely imaginative and already, the feel of this game is nothing short of marvellous.
“The four game modes are all genuinely different, the guns are all extremely imaginative and already, the feel of this game is nothing short of marvellous”
Adventure mode is the mode I personally found most enjoyable and blimey, there is a lot of stuff going on here. You play one of many characters, each with original stats and starting off with their own gun. It is classically a horde mode with several rounds of enemies, starting with zombies of course, which get progressively harder. These rounds end with a boss fight before you proceed to the next area. Each gun is able to be modded with the randomly dropped mods. You can also buy new guns, pick up spells and items such as health or skill points from a vendor at the end of each round. Choosing carefully what guns and mods you equip is the best bit. Creating a fully adept weapon for the right situation is really is rewarding.
You are treated to a wide variety of areas from Hell to the moon – and even a dance floor; well it is a party, after all. There’s also a massive range of super weapons which range from interesting to the obscure. Rainbow guns, mine launchers, drone deployers and even mortars. Zombie Party certainly doesn’t lack in content, and everything is designed with one core concept in mind: having fun.
You can play with mouse and keyboard or play with a controller. I tried both and found them both to be responsive and flow well, although I found that changing a couple of key bindings was necessary as my stubby little fingers can’t quite naturally stretch to the “y” key. For the most part everything is fluid and works how you’d expect. Some little niche things that I tried also worked which made my day, such as dragging an item out of your inventory to discard it. I played through this a few times and even got into the top 100 on Steam; a feat I am very proud of (…I am never going to be an eSports champion).
“Zombie Party certainly doesn’t lack in content, and everything is designed with one core concept in mind: having fun”
Other modes in Zombie Party include a dungeon mode where you actively search for the trapdoor to the next level and play at a slower pace, focusing on conserving and judging enemy types rather than gun and spell adaption. There is an arcade mode which just invites you to destroy as many zombies you can in five minutes; it’s fun for a few tries but not nearly as competitive as the other modes. There is also a crazy deathmatch. You kill the other players as quickly as possible in an arena whilst dodging explosive scenery and superweapons. All these modes can be played with local or online multiplayer.
While this is all brilliant, there are a few nags I have. Some of them may be sorted when the full game is released, though others may be more persistent. This isn’t the most beautiful game you will ever play. Where the playable characters look fairly decent for a retro pixel sprite game, the enemies are a bit hit and miss. Some of them are a bit ugly, especially the larger enemies. While some are cartoonishly odd and get a pass, like the moon monsters, others are simply badly designed. The most annoying thing about enemy design is that some are too similar in colour to the background that they are near impossible to see. It’s something of a lottery if you are going to have a fun innovative stage or a bland looking stage.
The music in Zombie Party is decent; a retro soundtrack that adds to the experience. It’s no Super Meat Boy but it’s atmospheric and I have caught myself humming it around the house since my time playing the game!
Despite its few flaws, Zombie Party is still outrageously fun. There are definitely tweaks to be made and things that will hopefully be improved during the final stages of development, but a focus on content really has paid off. The best thing about this game is how easy it is to pick up and play. It’s rare an Early Access game feels so well-rounded and accessible, but even in its current state I have no problem recommending the game. This is one party definitely worth attending.