Free-To-Play Zombies Ate My Friends Is Surprisingly Fun In Short Shotgun Bursts [Review]


Zombies Ate My Friends

Glu Games (Gun Bros, Contract Killer, Death Dome) has a certain reputation for violent free to play games, but the San Francisco-based developer has quite a variety of game genres to its credit, including fantasy and city-building games.

Zombies Ate My Friends by Glu Games, Inc.
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

Zombies Ate My Friends is another free to play game, sure, but it has a charm about it that helps cynics like me look the other way when it comes to the typical mechanics associated with the business model. The artwork is pleasing to the eye and there is a sense of whimsy to every aspect of the game, from dialog to undead-smashing weaponry (there’s a ukulele!), that elevates Zombies Ate My Friends from “yet another cash grab” to “worth a download and your valuable time.”

Players will start the game as a relatively uncouth young man, making his way through a zombie-strewn wasteland. The game trains players up gently but persistently, offering rewards early and often, like extra energy, experience points (XP), and in-game currency that can later be used to purchase said weaponry, armor, and other power ups along the way.

Die, zombie. Again.
Die, zombie. Again.

Encounters are mission based — the protagonist will get a quest from one of the characters in the game, taking him to office buildings, homes, and warehouses in search of a variety of survival items to help him and his friends stay one step ahead of the undead hordes. Each mission will provide plenty of time for combat and loot searching, each action costing a certain amount of energy.

Combat is turn-based, which is great for the stop-and-start reality of mobile gaming. When fighting a zombie, players simply tap a button with a combat move on it that pertains to the specific weapon equipped. Attacks that do more damage typically cost more energy, and players will need to keep an eye on the energy balance as they fight their way through each encounter. At the end of the mission, they’ll usually get more XP, currency, and energy, along with a gold skull, the hard currency of Zombies Ate My Friends. Gold skulls are used to buy premium weapons, equipment, or supplies from the armory.

My only issue with the game, besides the business model itself, is the difficulty tapping on the encounter rewards that fly out of looted containers and defeated zombies alike. There are too many permanent buttons along the bottom of the screen; they occasionally get in the way of collecting loot. I also had a couple of instances where I was unable to start a fight with a Zombie, forcing me to leave the room and return to have my tap register. Neither of these is game-breaking, though.

Zombies Ate My Friends is a finely tuned game that will most likely entertain and charm even the more skeptical among gamers, whether they spend cash to enhance their game play or not. Glu Games has created an enjoyable game that provides a severed-leg’s worth of fun and engagement that can be experienced for free on any iOS or Android device.

screen800x500Game Name: Zombies Ate My Friends
The Good: Great visuals, well-written, funny dialog, whimsical charm across all levels of gameplay.
The Bad: Some user interface buttons get in the way of looting the ground, occasional mis-taps.
The Verdict Ultimately, Zombies Ate My Friends has everything going for it: smartly written storyline, easily understood gameplay mechanics, and a generous free to play business model.
Buy from: App Store