Yes, you read that title correctly. This is yet another zombie defense game, amply titled Yet Another Zombie Defense HD. The developer, Awesome Games Studio, has quite the history. Back in 2009 they released their first game through Xbox Live Indie Games, Duel: The Art of Combat. Unfortunately, it didn’t hit quite as well as intended. Undeterred, the developer went on to release Yet Another Zombie Defense, to which it went down an absolute treat. Now, several years later, it’s back for another go around. Does it hold up as well as it did?
This new version isn’t a sequel to the first version, in fact it’s pretty much exactly the same save a few visual and mechanical updates as well as some new additions here and there. Though, since release of the first version, these sorts of games have popped up quicker than a meerkat in a hole, meaning they’re literally everywhere. The big question is, does Yet Another Zombie Defense HD have enough to stand out in a now overcrowded genre? For the cost of just £4 or region equivalent, it’s certainly worth your attention, that’s for sure.
However, I wouldn’t come into this game expecting too much. Yet Another Zombie Defense HD supports four players, either locally or online. There’s no story mode included, but in place of that, there’s a total of three modes to take to; Defense, Endless and Deathmatch. Each of these modes are pretty standard and fall inline with what you would expect from their titles. Endless mode pits you and three other players against a continuous wave of enemies that are gunning for your blood from all corners of the screen. The aim is simple.
You’ll need to survive and keep moving for as long as possible, gaining pick-ups from the dead undead, which typically consists of weaponry and power-ups. Deathmatch, on the other hand, offers a PvP variant that pits you and your nearest and dearest against one another. Finally, that leaves us with Defense. This is easily the game’s most alluring mode and arguably where players will be spending most of their time. It’s worth pointing out the each of the three modes all take place on the same map, because well, it’s the only one.
Players will start each game underneath a dimly lit lamppost, with zombies and bulkier foes spawning just outside of the where the light touches. You only have a trusty, infinite-ammo pistol to begin with and must survive against wave after wave of enemies. The gameplay centers around simple twin-stick controls, lending the game a good deal of accessibility. Once one wave is at its end, you’ll be able to spend any of your earned currency on a number of useful objects or items, before choosing when the next wave will commence.
The pool of goodies that you can buy into will aid you through subsequent waves, such as being able to purchase spike-barriers to slow down your opposition. There’s also some advanced variations of these objects, including that of an electrical spike-barrier. Hell, you can even place some explosives down to chain up some mass damage output. If fortification isn’t your thing, worry not, you can elect to place down some auto-turrets or buy into more powerful weaponry; sniper rifles, shotguns and so on and so forth. Standard stuff, of course.
With every few passing waves you’ll be offered a skill point that can go towards leveling up several different stats, covering health regeneration, speed and other useful tidbits. The kicker is, if you get overrun and butchered, you’ll lose everything and by everything, I mean literally everything. On that front, Yet Another Zombie Defense HD is quite the risk vs reward sort of game. Should you buy into the immediate wares to make it through wave by wave? Or, do you go all out and stack up your cash to buy into the more expensive goods?
The game’s biggest problem is that it becomes repetitive, quickly. It’s easy to overlook given its cheap cost, but when you realize that you’re just doing the same thing wave in and wave out, across all modes, it begins to grind before long. There’s also quite a steep difficulty when it comes to playing solo, which is somewhat harder to forgive. Sadly, online play isn’t very populated at the time of forming this review, so whether or not this game will win over a dedicated following remains to be seen. I’m very skeptical that this will enjoy a long life.
Visuals, despite the improvements upon the original version, the game doesn’t look all that good. The singular map is little more than a large dull-colored floor with a lamp slapped in the center of it. Hardly groundbreaking, is it? Overall, it’s fair to describe the game as a dated Xbox 360 title. It would have been nice to see some more character variation too, being that there’s only four to choose from; a male, a female, a SWAT man and the doc, because every zombie game needs one of those, right? Still, it’s good to pass the time.
In fact, that’s probably the best way to describe Yet Another Zombie Defense HD, something to pass the time. It’s certainly not one of those games that you’ll race home to play, but more the sort of game that you’ll play while you wait for something better to finish installing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun in its short bursts and again, for its price, it’s a win win. Though when all is said and done, everything within is pretty bog-standard, its visuals, its gameplay, its longevity and the rest. Make of that what you will my people.
Yet Another Zombie Defense HD is a bog-standard game that doesn’t particularly do much to stand out. Sure, there’s support for both local and online play across three game modes in total, but its lack of innovation and depth does little to elevate the experience above its peers. In fairness, the game is fun in short bursts and comes with a decent gameplay foundation. Just don’t expect to be blown away.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.