by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Scientists and Space Rangers
Somewhere in space, there’s an evil scientist who has created an army of biomutants. Yeah, we’re not going to be seeing any prizes for storytelling here, but at least the game approaches it with a tongue in cheek attitude… I think. Anyway, this is ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination, a part action, part tower defense, part horde mode game developed by Nano Games and published by Kasedo Games. It’s not particularly thrilling, but I am listening to the menu soundtrack while I write this review, so there’s that.
There’s just not much to it really. You’re treated to an opening cutscene when you first launch the game, which is presented in a comic book style. You play as a pair of Space Rangers, who have come to investigate the evil scientist’s evil doings. His name might be ZAMB, but I’m not sure, that’s not really laid out. However, before you even manage to get close, you are transported to a compound of levels and tasked with defending yourself from waves of enemies.
Play with a friend
You have a range of abilities to help you do so, the majority of which are unlocked as you play and level up. Hitting the tab key cycles between the two rangers, while the AI takes control of whichever one you’re not using. Alternatively you could have a friend take over the reins, or even play online. That is, if you ever manage to find someone else playing online. I never did. If you want to play multiplayer, you’ll be better off inviting a friend. Cye is a melee based character, but can lay traps and shoot the occasional projectile. Chrome has a gun and is able to build turrets wherever he likes on the map.
If you want to use abilities beyond your basic attack though, you need to spend gems. These are collected from fallen enemies or from smashing up boxes around the level. I found it much easier to play as Chrome for the majority of the game, in part because I preferred to stay at range, but also because the AI didn’t seem to want to place turrets, so I had to do it manually. Around each level are turret pads which increase the range or damage of any turret placed upon it. They’re often located in strategic locations such as choke points, but they’re also vulnerable to enemy attacks. Your abilities and turrets can be upgraded when you level up, increasing their range, power, decreasing cooldown time, and so on.
of Ticks and Wasps
The start of each level has you scoping out what’s going to happen. You have to hack reactors and defend them to successfully complete each mission, but doing so causes the waves of enemies to start coming at you. These enemies range from Exploder Ticks to Frost Wasps, and everything in between. You know, biomutant stuff. The further into the game you get, the more enemies will spawn and the more powerful they’ll become. They’ll start shooting you, your turrets, and the reactors from afar, and will take a lot of punishment before going down.
Once you’ve defended a reactor from a certain number of waves, you’re given a period of respite while you move onto the next one. You can pick up turrets and reposition them for the next onslaught. The minimap shows you where the reactors are and possible spawn points of enemies, but the physical act of moving turrets around is excruciatingly slow and there’s a limit to the number you can place, so you’ll have to do it sooner or later.
The game is a melding together of styles, but there’s nothing really original to be seen here. You can combine elemental effects together to create combos which do lots of damage, which is probably the most interesting aspect of the game. Despite this, it’s never that rewarding when it happens and it’s not particularly difficult to perform these combos. All you have to do is place specific traps or turrets next to each other. There’s a nice little visual effect when it happens, along with a corny announcer, but it’s just not that exciting.
I’ve had to turn off the music now, it was beginning to loop quite a lot, but the soundtrack is pretty good for what it is. Presentationally, the game is a lot like the gameplay: sound, but nothing special. It’s nice and colourful, with some good ability effects and audio cues, but the overall style is quite standard. You also won’t find much content, with only 27 levels spanning three different ‘worlds’. There are differences between each one, but it’s a case of making the environments either red, green or blue.
ZAMB! Biomutant Extermination is a game that tries to blend a few styles together, but none of them work that well on their own here, let alone when mixed. It’s a budget game, but you won’t find many hours of gameplay despite the low price. You never really feel like you’re progressing towards anything either. After each level, there’s no story exposition. You just upgrade your abilities and move on. It’s not a badly put together game, but it does commit one major cardinal sin: it’s just kinda boring.
Decent soundtrack, a nice attempt at blending a few different genres.
Lacklustre story and boring gameplay.