Zombie Kill of the Week Reborn is a very promising indie game created by Still Running and published by Merge Games on 26th March.
Honestly, this is one the best games I’ve played all year, keeping in mind this year bestowed upon me 3 Koei games. Granted, it’s a zombie game; zombie games are popping up from everywhere, but keeping that in mind, there is clearly a gap in the market for zombie games that aren’t bloated with all the back story and narrative that is usually shoe horned in. Just give me a zombie game where I can point and shoot at things. This game plays out very similarly to Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies, in the sense that you gain cash for kills, you use the cash to buy new weapons, open doors, upgrade weapons (sounding familiar?) but instead of being a bonus add on to a game (which I only bought for the zombies) I get to enjoy a full game that is just shooting zombies in 2D, fast paced brilliance.
What essentially makes Still Running’s Zombie Kill of the Week – Reborn different from other shooters is your goal isn’t to run through levels and finish the game, but to survive for as long as possible under increasingly frantic conditions. Seems simple enough, but where Zombie Kill of the Week – Reborn really takes off is in the added layers of depth and huge variety of features and customisation available.
One of the main reasons I instantly fell in love with this title is because it’s genuinely challenging. You push yourself to survive just one more round each time, with a sense of bittersweet accomplishment whenever you do manage to break a record, having still died in a manner that was dissatisfying. And don’t get me started on the times you die quickly. Oh boy, do I get my rage on. Not enough to stop playing mind you, but enough to click the try again button as quickly as it appears. Even if you don’t manage to survive for long, at least you can gain some XP from the zombies kills you made, which salvages your pride (perhaps only a little, mind you).
Surviving longer also gains you ZKW-Points which you can cash in to totally customize your character, customize your weapons, buy new weapons, buy different perks, open new maps, and a lot lot more! Players also earn XP as they play, allowing them to level-up their character and develop them to fit their chosen gameplay skills. Survival is all about learning to use whatever you have, but if you have better stuff, go figure – you survive longer.
As if having the initial challenge and enough customisation to rival The Sims wasn’t enough, there is a level editor tool. Essentially, this allows players to create their own maps to play solo, with bots or with friends in online play. Oh yes – it has online play, for up to 4 players. I’d strongly advise getting a few friends together and playing this as a group, rather than alone with the bots. Whilst the bots do try hard to rack up kills and seem to be able to just pick up any weapon they feel like without having earned the cash, they have a habit of dragging you into danger, not following you when you want them to, rarely picking up drops from enemies and continuously suicide themselves in an attempt to revive you. At least human players may be able to defend themselves when unsupervised. But then again, maybe they wouldn’t fare much better.
As simplistic as the design of the game looks, it’s actually very well executed. The backgrounds for example have so much detail, you wouldn’t believe this was an indie game. I really think that the blood splattering all over the walls and the furniture is a nice effect, which goes to show you don’t have to spend millions to make your game look good.
Here is my first attempt caught on video:
In short, the game is awesome. It’s a brilliant, addictive, fast paced 2D shooter that is a welcome addition to the zombie genre.
The Nerd Stash score: 9/10
Buy this game now on Steam!