One of the things I’ve really come to love about this writing gig has been the fantastic hidden gems that release on the Steam Store that I would have otherwise completely disregarded without a second thought, Zombie Night Terror is one such title, do not let the seemingly simply pixel-art visuals fool you, this is an addictive and fresh reimagining of the classic Lemmings series which is not to be missed.
The inspiration from Lemmings is abundantly clear in this title from the get go, you are the unseen ‘Zombie Mastermind’ in control of the spread of infection, started from a seemingly faulty batch of the neatly named ‘Romero’ drug, you goal is simple, infect everyone in sight and take over the city across the 40 levels available. Aside from your main objectives, each level has a bonus objective such as infecting all the humans or destroying certain objects.
Whilst unarmed civilians are easy munching fodder, the game also throws enemies wielding baseball bats, pistols and shotguns at your undead horde, this is when the resource management will come into play. Among the options available are doses of the ‘Romero’ drug that you can use to infect the more heavily armed or harder to reach humans, as well as selecting an ‘Overlord’ which will guide your mindless troupe to further fleshy food bags. It’s important that you use these abilities wisely, as each uses DNA which you can obtain by sacrificing undead members, killing and infecting more humans or collecting pickups.
As the game progress and the enemies toughen up, access is given to more resources such as jumping, running and exploding undead, as well as newer types of special zombies that will aid your cause, the game can get fairly intense at certain moments, so I was happy to see that you can pause the action and plan your next move, couple this with the fact you can freely zoom in or out of the level to better set out your tactics.
The game is fairly easy, for the most part, certain levels will take longer to complete than others and the level specific challenges can be quite difficult to obtain, but the game never feels unfair and depending on your skill level it will soak up a good few hours of you time, although I can see how this game could be considered a little too easy once you get a real grip of using the abilities and the horde to maximum effect (use the pause button folks). Levels and enemies do switch it up throughout the game, so there is no danger of the game getting boring, frustration may come from the boss fights however, as these can take a few tries before you can beat them, and a few more if you want to beat them and complete the bonus objective.
Aesthetically, the game is looks fantastic, the pixel art visuals coupled with the fantastic design of the levels set to the backdrops of cloudy, foggy cities really adds to the surprisingly noir-like atmosphere as well as giving some more environmental hurdles for you to tackle. All this is scored by a fantastic 80’s style soundtrack which you can buy separately and I suggest you do as it’s incredibly catchy. Humans do have dialogue amongst their screaming (they do that a lot) though most of it contains pop culture references to other zombie-related media, there’s also neat nods to shows such as The Walking Dead with the ‘dead inside’ doors that you can destroy to let more of the undead join your ranks, there is a lot of toilet humour which may put some people off as it feels distinctly out-of-place, but it’s never in your face and easily ignored.
The game, perhaps unsurprisingly, has no problems running on my mid-range pc, though the graphics options are fairly limited, I experienced no crashes at all throughout the game either with the only problem coming with unlocking a certain achievement which as of writing seems to be bugged for most people. This is an issue that I’m sure will be patched out relatively soon though and the developers seem committed to ironing out any post-launch issues with the game.
It was a pleasant surprise to find out just how much fun this game really is, it’s a fantastically refreshing take of the classics Lemmings formula and for its current price of £9.99 it is definitely worth every penny. The game forces you to think differently with each level and with each new ability unlock and, whilst the game can become fairly easy after the first few levels, it never ever gets boring. This is without a doubt one of the best indie titles of 2016 and kudos to the developers NoClip for making a genuinely brilliant surprise gem, I absolutely recommended this game to everyone.
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