“Which brains do I need to munch on first?” is the question that I always asked myself at the beginning of every level in I, Zombie, a game where timing is key.
Eating the brains of scientists, villagers and soldiers can be fun at times, but I, Zombie is ultimately a short-lived experience that relies too heavily on timing rather than puzzle solving.
As the zombie, your goal is to infect everyone in the level, turning them into fellow zombies. Turning a person into a zombie is simple; you just need to make contact with them. However, there are two types of people: soldiers and villagers. Villagers only run away from you, but soldiers will shoot you on sight, making them hard to approach.
As the zombie commander, you have three orders at your disposal for your undead minions: stop, attack, and follow, and the order can only be applied to the whole group rather than individual zombies. What this all means is that you need to come up with a plan on what order to infect everyone based on the layout of the level so you don’t get killed. Perhaps you could aim to infect all of the villages first, before getting close enough to take down the patrolling soldiers.
The biggest problem is that the game puts too much emphasis on the timing and not enough on the planning. It was easy to discern which people I needed to eat first in order to get my undead horde large enough to take on the larger groups of soldiers. The difficult part, however, was figuring out the correct time to move either my character or my zombies in order to avoid a soldier’s line of sight or in order to get close enough to them before they started shooting. The whole concept of getting the timing just right was more often frustrating than it was fun, especially in the last parts of a level.
It took me a little over an hour for me to conquer every level in I, Zombie, and its four dollar price tag is a reflection of the game’s briefness. The several dozen levels are fairly varied, and they all require different methods in order to complete them. Every level has a scoring system of one to three stars, depending on how many of your zombies are left by the end of it, making for a small amount or replayability, but nothing noteworthy. The unlicensed music also was a sign of laziness on the developer’s part. All of this culminates to I, Zombie feeling almost like a flash game, nothing more than a momentary distraction.
I’m doubtful that anyone will be able to get any long-term enjoyment out of I, Zombie, but if nothing else the game does a okay job of killing an hour’s worth of your time with some easy timing puzzles. It’s a shame that the game doesn’t make better use of its planning and problem solving, otherwise I, Zombie might have had the potential to be something greater.