Over the course of my long career as an iOS game reviewer, I’ve killed zombies with all sorts of weapons. Guns, knives, chainsaws, swords, flamethrowers — you name it, and I’ve probably used it to eliminate scores of undead. But up until playing Zombie Smash Basketball (out now, free), I’m pretty sure I’d never taken a zombie out with a basketball!
Zombie Smash Basketball is a strange but very fun hybrid of the tower defense and basketball game genres. In it, you find yourself holed up with your grandpa in a rundown garage/basketball court that’s under siege by zombies. Your job in each level — and there are a lot of them — is simple; stop the zombies from reaching and destroying your shelter. As hordes of decomposing flesh-eaters march up the driveway towards the garage, you’ve got to smash them to bits by lobbing well-aimed basketballs through the hoop and into them. The gameplay and controls are nicely intuitive, so you’ll be scoring baskets and racking up zombie-killing combos like a pro in no time.
Basketballs are only really effective against weaker zombie types, though. They’re no match for the likes of the fast-moving baby zombies, Spartan warrior zombies, machete wielding old lady zombies, and giant boss zombies that begin appearing the further you progress into the game. So thankfully, your grandpa springs into action with his trusty shotgun to help you out every so often. Also, more traditional tower defense weapons like bombs and mines do become available a few levels in. These weapons, as well as additional defenses for your garage and other special items, can be bought from the in-game shop using the gold and diamonds you earn for skillful zombie kills and completing missions. If you’re so inclined, you do have the option to use IAPs to speed up the unlocking and upgrading of you and grandpa’s weaponry and gear.
Stylistically, Zombie Smash Basketball takes quite a few cues from PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies. So, if you dig that game’s art style, character designs and off-kilter sense of humor, you’ll more than likely enjoy this too. Personally, I think certain elements of it are maybe a little too derivative of PvZ at times, but it’s hard to blame the developers for wanting to emulate such a classic and popular tower defense title. And don’t get me wrong, Zombie Smash Basketball does also bring enough of its own original ideas to the table that it still feels fresh overall.
Zombie Smash Basketball is a highly unique tower defense/basketball hybrid that impresses thanks to its stylish Plants vs. Zombies-esque visuals, lashings of cartoon-y violence, and tons of fun and challenging content.