Have you ever pondered what a third-person rendition of Minigore might look and play like? While Call of Mini: Zombies (out now, $0.99) doesn’t quite mimic the frenzied pace of Mountain Sheep’s seminal dual-stick shooter, it is the closest 3D option currently available to gamers. Triniti Interactive’s CoM:Z succeeds in certain departments and needs some improvement in others.
An action shooter set across two fully 3D maps, CoM:Z initially casts you in the role of Joe Blo, an unfortunate chap who finds himself at the center of a zombie apocalypse. The undead-slaying action kicks off outdoors on day 1 at a relatively relaxed pace. Advancing through the subsequent days is a matter of eliminating each and every flesh-eating monster while trying to stay alive. To keep your health bar topped up, your ammo stocked and your credits incoming, various power-ups hidden within crates are spread throughout the maps, waiting to be claimed. Each day takes place on one of the two maps which are chosen randomly; you could be playing outdoors for three or four days straight, before finally being switched back to the indoor map.
Featuring cartoony graphics with a snazzy cel-shaded style, CoM:Z is a visually attractive game. From the environments to the characters, the zombies to the weapons’ muzzle flashes and explosions, pretty much every aspect of this title is easy on the eyes. The game itself runs very smoothly – controls have been well-implemented and offer top-notch responsiveness. The left virtual-analog stick is used to move your character around while swiping along the right side of the screen is used to look around without firing. Pressing the right virtual-analog stick gives your character instruction to fire, as the game’s view zooms in to give an over-the-shoulder perspective. While firing, the right-hand stick can be moved around to refine your aim; hence, moving + aiming + firing is all extremely intuitive, easy to use and leaves nothing to be desired.
As far as gameplay is concerned, beyond the game’s first nine days, my overall experience was a bit dull. Once the great visuals, accurate controls and initial fun-factor wears off, the game starts feeling like a grind-fest with little purpose behind it. Perhaps the biggest reason behind this problem is the lack of interesting environments or additional features. As I mentioned earlier, CoM:Z either has you doing battle at an outdoor container port or an abandoned indoor corporate-office setting. While both of these are fun in their own respect initially, the maps are small and boredom sets in after the first 4-5 rounds you spend in each of them. Though enemy variety also picks up as you progress through the game, dealing with the same types of zombies time and time again does get a bit old.
In order to help make the game a little less monotonous, you are given the option to purchase various characters and weapons to upgrade your ability to deal with the zombie infestation. Each of the 7 additional characters come with the own unique attributes ranging from automatic health regeneration or having increased health points, to being able to move around with increased speed. Besides the initial MP5 you start off with, you have the option to unlock and spend credits on a variety of shotguns, rocket launchers and automatic rifles such as the AK47, AUG, Winchester Shotgun, Chaingun, RPG-7 and more.
The pricing structure for the in-game items and characters was a cause of concern for me, and because I wanted to save up for one of the better weapons in the game (the AUG), I was forced to hoard my credits and refrain from upgrading my default weapon. After spending the first 9 days with nothing but an un-upgraded MP5, I finally got relief on day 10 and improved my arsenal. The trouble with this system is that it limits your ability to try multiple weapons during a game and instead forces you to either save up credits for a long periods of time (as I had to do) or take the plunge with an IAP to gain additional credits to spend in-game. Without opting for the latter, most people won’t have the patience to grind it out between the two available maps to be able to afford the game’s later weapons or characters.
iFanzine Verdict: Call of Mini: Zombies offers up some great gameplay coupled with attractive visuals at the expense of being relatively light on content. With future updates, this title can hopefully be adequently fleshed-out and turned into a power-house which raises the bar for future 3D shooters.