Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Zombie Snail - This Game Snails Good

...as in it keeps coming back for more!
  After my first two published reviews here on my blog, I decided I wanted to keep doing this but only if I continue to review small indie games and well what smaller indie is Jeffto's Zombie Snail? A self-described "casual" game, I was drawn into this game based on the title alone and while the whole zombie thing has been beaten to death in books, films, television shows, comics, games, and more ... I am really up for anything with the word "zombie" in it (except The Walking Dead television series... ugggghhhh). Plus, I haven't really played many games that involved a snail for a main character.


The infection has taken over the world, not much was left untouched. Even you, the lowly snail, has been infected. You can still function with the sliver of consciousness unaffected by the disease, but the desire for brains grows quickly. There is a strong scent of fresh brains down in the sewers, you must reach it.Race down the sewage tunnels to reach the brains while avoiding the hazardous chemicals leaking from the overworld. The darkness in the underground induce many hallucinations to your diseased brain, keep your light source lit or be consumed by the shadows. As you progress through the tunnel, you will gain experience and unlock many upgrades and power-ups that makes the journey easier.


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Gameplay:   
   While this game may not be utilizing he most unique gameplay mechanic, I find the game's difficulty to be sufficient as your barrow down the sewer corridor, dodging hazards, avoiding the grim reaper and trying to escape from the increasingly darkening depths of poo city. Even though you're playing as a snail, I couldn't even imagine how boring the game would be if you were going as slow as a snail! The game is pleasantly challenging when the controls don't shoot you from one side to another randomly (a rare occurrence) and if you try to use anything but the motion controls, well, you're pretty much screwed with the on-screen buttons - which probably reduced my reaction and response times to pathetic levels. One of the other things that I felt this game does well is the unlockable items to help you stave off hazards and make it easier to keep things lit up, not that the dark is really difficult to navigate through.. but the Grim Reaper will show up and obstruct your view if you try to go too long without using a match/lantern/flashlight. I was challenged on 180 mode, but once I unlocked 270 mode I realized that I wasn't as good as I thought and as of this writing, I'm still trying to climb up the leaderboards on Never Ending Mode. Not too easy, but not too hard... unless of course you really want to rack up those levels and coins; plus the secret achievements are going to keep me playing until I unlock them all. 

A game I will be playing for the next couple of weeks... 

Visual Design:

   The coolest thing about this game is the circular theme that is used for both the select screen and the screen you'll be staring at the most: the actual gameplay. When I first started playing it felt like I was falling down like in an old Looney Toon-style cartoon, but after getting figuring out the orientation of how it was presented I was racing down the colorfully decorated, yet dark sewers. The lighting is "just OK" until you get all of the upgrades for your light source, but when everything is lit up the blues, pinks, oranges and greens are shown in their full color beauty which really compliment the awesome pixel-art snail. Big plus for graphic design.

Taking the family on vacation!

Sound Design:

   No music? I'm okay with this! The dripping sound as you cross the threshold of each level actually helped me keep track of how far I've gotten into the sewers without having to look at the counter, and the loud sounds of the hazards only make me want to avoid them even more. The only suggestion I have regarding the sound design of this game is that when the Grim Reaper shows up in the dark, maybe something macabre can play in the background until you flick the light back on? I would like that.

Final Decision:
   So, do I like this game? Absolutely. Is it perfect? No, it is not... but I think it's a great first game for Jeffto and while there are no zombies in the game, each time I die I keep coming back for more. This game is well polished, I haven't seen any bugs (yet), and while there is limited content in this game and no way of disabling the flashlight after you upgraded so you can go back to the initial challenge at the beginning, I will keep playing this game until I've mastered it all.