Killing zombies is part of a gamer’s daily routine, which is all fine and apparently dandy, but I simply can’t stomach another undead infested FPS. Bombing thousands of undead along with some unfortunate not-quite-dead-yet citizens, on the other hand, is another matter entirely and as Atom Zombie Smasher emphatically showed me, a most refreshing and enjoyable, if not downright noble, pass-time. Oh, and it’s a novel way to battle stuff too, though you probably know all about it already, what with Atom Zombie Smasher being a part of the biggest and least humble of Humble Indie Bundles so far.
Anyway, as simply reminding you of its existence wouldn’t do anyone any good, let me just point out that in Atom Zombie Smasher you get to evacuate yellow and blue dots (civilians and scientists apparently) while destroying pink dots (those would be the zombies), in what can only be described as an unholy fusion of RTS, action, orbital bombing and tower defense mechanics in one impressively coherent whole. Add the between levels strategic and slightly reminiscent of RISK portions and you have a deep, satisfyingly difficult and unique game; yes, with zombies. In a nutshell, it is thus an engaging, addictive and downright fun affair that had me using my upgraded artillery throughout more than a few nights.
Admittedly though, dots of varying colors and, after a certain point, bigger dots don’t sound like much when it comes to visuals, but this lovely indie game manages to look good in a way vaguely reminiscent of the original GTA, only with some added pyrotechnics. Besides, it does feature an utterly brilliant soundtrack, that puts much grander productions to shame.
What’s more, the dozens of extra game modes, unlockable, brilliantly illustrated vignettes and a multitude of little touches add a polished feel to Atom Zombie Smasher, which more than makes up for its minor shortcomings. Only a couple of different enemies and a handful of playable units would have made a lesser game feel pretty poor indeed… And the difficulty curve is far from perfect too, which does admittedly make for a more rewarding first, uhm, dozen of hours.
Verdict: Orbital terror at its best and least terrifying. Also, a zombie murder simulator to cheer you up while perfecting those tactical skills.