by Amber Hall
reviewed on PC
Infectonator 3: Apocalypse is the sequel to a game I know I must have played years ago online in its first iteration. It was immediately familiar to me as the basic mechanics seem mostly the same as what I remember. Your goal is to spread a zombie virus across the world, tackling sections of different countries until no humans remain. This is done by strategically placing your infection in a group of humans to infect as many people as possible. The infected run around killing the other humans in the level, sometimes turning their victims into zombies and furthering the spread of infection. With a slew of different items and zombie types, there's a fair bit of strategy available for tackling each area.
Unlocking new zombie types takes either DNA points that are slowly gained as you progress or simply meeting certain requirements. Each zombie type can be leveled up or combined with other zombies to create stronger variants. The player also unlocks a variety of special zombies that host familiar popular culture faces such as Pennywise from It and Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees. Each zombie has their own special uses and so it becomes important to plan which zombies to take with you each time you take on an area. Moreover, areas with zombie curing research facilities begin cropping up, and the player must reach these areas and destroy them before a cure is found. This becomes less of a problem once the map has been thoroughly explored, but it creates a difficult early and mid-game atmosphere when you're also trying to save up zombies to create an ever stronger hoard.
Worn Out Places
My main issue with the game is that it can become a repetitive slog if you play it for an extended amount of time. I suspect it plays better as the sort of game that you pick up and put down every now and again, but that feels more suited to a mobile atmosphere rather than Steam. Once you get a grasp on the basic mechanics, the game mostly becomes a cycle of beating a level, returning to the lab to upgrade a few things, and hitting another level. There is room for there to be more strategy with the huge amount of zombies on offer, but it felt easy to fall into a pattern of using the same zombie types as much as possible once you discover what's effective. When you run out of zombies to combine, grinding smaller locations to get a few more resources feels more like a chore after a while rather than progression.
That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy my time with Infectonator 3: Apocalypse. Whenever I started the game up, I had a good bit of fun with it before it began to feel repetitive again. Moreover, there's a lot of little things the game does to make for a more enjoyable experience when you do pick it up. The soundtrack was a lot of fun, and I especially love the peaceful music that plays just before you begin spreading death and despair upon the blissfully unaware populace. Moreover, each area's people speak through little word bubbles in that area's respective language, and it was sort of morbidly adorable to watch them run for their lives screaming in Spanish, Japanese, and so on. It's just a shame that these little things don't do much in the way of keeping me engaged in the gameplay.
A Time Sink
Infectonator 3: Apocalypse feels more like the sort of game one might have on their phone to sink some time into before classes or while in a waiting room. It's satisfying to completely destroy each area, but only until the formulaic gameplay begins to wear itself thin. However, the little things Infectonator 3: Apocalypse does for humor's sake land nicely and I found myself laughing at some of the intentionally silly art and dialogue. Overall, it's a game that's fun in bursts and would probably appeal more to somebody who knows this sort of thing is their cup of tea.
Great soundtrack/art, lots of zombie variety
Repetitive gameplay, strategic potential lost