It’s been a while coming, but finally, minis have their own superhero. Age of Zombies’ square-jawed wise-cracking zombie head-splatting foul-mouthed heartthrob Barry Steakfries doesn’t just have the best name in the world, ever, he’s such an all-round badass he could probably kill zombies just by looking at them, but instead, he chooses to blast them with his boomstick, just for giggles. If Ripley from Aliens and Duke Nukem had a baby, it would probably be Barry Steakfries.
Halfbrick, how we do love you. First, you give us intriguing and ethereal puzzle minis such as Echoes, then you give us floaty space stuff like Blast Off, and now you’ve clearly gone stark raving mad with the utter joyous lunacy that is Age of Zombies. A game that not only makes me laugh out loud and shout “Barry Steakfries FTW” at regular intervals (note to self: don’t play on public transport), but is also probably vying with Dracula: Undead Awakening for the best top-down shooter mini.
There are two gameplay modes, the main story mode and Survival Mode. In Survival Mode, you just get one life and have to keep going as long as possible in the levels which have already been unlocked in the story mode to see if your high scores make it to the high scores table.
In story mode, which features Barry Steakfries traveling through time to splatter zombies through the ages, you have initially just three lives and must clear all the shufflers from your current location until the goo-green gauge on the left is empty. Crates with weapon upgrades are frequently dropped around the playing area, with icons indicating the direction in which you can find them.
To move Mr. Steakfries, use either the directional buttons or the analog stick, and to shoot, press Square, Triangle, O, or X. Press two buttons together to shoot diagonally in the specific direction. When you have secondary weapons such as grenades, press L to throw them. And that’s really all you need to know to go forth and wreak zombie-killin’ mayhem all across time.
The weapons that Barry gets to wield are the usual shooter fare, but all handle really well. There’s the obligatory boomstick (shotgun), of course, plus an SMG, rifle, minigun, and flamethrower, as well as secondary weapons such as grenades, bazookas, and mines. Crates also contain pick-ups such as extra lives and shields, although these are very few and far between.
In terms of the overall gameplay experience, Age of Zombies plays like a dream and delivers a strong challenge. The sheer size of the relentless swathes of zombie hordes out to suck on Barry’s brains is truly impressive, without even a hint of slowdown, and you’ll have loads of fun spraying around the lead and mowing them down en masse to earn extra combo points.
Also nice to see some old-school tumultuous boss battles in a mini as well, rounding off every level with a flourish, including a zombie T-Rex, a zombie mob car, and a samurai zombie.
Graphics-wise, all Halfbrick games seem to have a certain style and flair about them, and Age of Zombies is no exception, with its bright comic-book animations and backgrounds, and hilarious little zombies with clothes to suit the historical location, be it mafia-style suits for the 30s level, or mummy zombies in Egypt. Overall, it’s a simply gorgeous game to look at. The fantastic music all adds to the atmosphere as well, being themed according to each level, whether it be Egypt, Chicago in the ‘30s, or prehistoric times.
Downsides? Well, by its nature it’s fairly short, as these top-down shooters always are, but it actually has a lot of variety even so. There are several stages to each level, so you’re not just stuck in one area. I guess the silly humor might not appeal to everyone but for the rest of us that love zombie-blasting carnage-with-quips on a massive, sick scale, what are you waiting for? You need this game, and Barry, in your life. Barry Steakfries, FTW.