Atom Zombie Smasher – Video Game Review

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I really didn’t expect much from Atom Zombie Smasher, which came in the Humber Indie Bundle 3.  I was hoping I could quickly try it, hate it, and remove it from the giant list of games I haven’t gotten around to even trying yet.  If I can get some of these indie titles off the list, I should have time for the AAA titles that take a lot longer to get through.

Unfortunately people keep making really good indie games, and Atom Zombie Smasher is no exception.

The story is crazy, the animations are kooky, and it’s all a bit zany.  The game is set in the 1960s after some zombie juice is let loose somehow and the entire planet is taken over, there is an odd back story that is a little hard to follow and sets you up as some kind of strategy guy that positions mercs and attempts to rescue as many survivors from the remaining cities before they are completely overrun with zombies.

I think ultimately this game is considered a “tower defense” game, but I’m not really certain since I don’t play those.  Each level shows a city where zombies will start funneling into via the connecting streets. There is a point at the beginning of each round where you can place artillery guns, snipers on roof tops, ground based military, blockades, traps, etc. and then during the round (one day, which is sometimes longer or shorter depending on the time of year) you determine where the best place to land a rescue helicopter, where the artillery should fire, and reposition the ground troops and the direction the snipers face.

The video on Steam didn’t seem to do it justice, because I almost didn’t even install it; I was just going to assume I didn’t like it.  The first campaign I was learning the controls and very quickly fell behind the zombie progression, so they had super mutants and I still only had the basics.  They beat me to a pulp, so the second campaign I turned on some options to unlock all the mercs from the start and the second game I creamed the zombies taking back almost the entire map before I beat the game.

One thing I found really cool (as a game developer) was when the campaign was over, there is a short story from the developer detailing how the game came about and the pitfalls he’d had making it over 2-3 years (the version on Steam is apparently 3.0) and the first couple versions of the game were completely trashed due to bad coding practices.

I hadn’t expected anything from Atom Zombie Smasher, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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