Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival Review

Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival is a rogue-lite kind of title, where we rinse and repeat the same levels in an effort to grind up our level enough to pass each stage. While fun in short bursts, the mobile origins are felt very quickly, with it clearly more suited to quick sessions while in between other things.

We begin with a pretty weak car and are tasked with simply getting to the end of the level. Between us and that though are dozens of zombies and obstacles, each taking several hit points off our cars health bar. We’re on a linear track a la Trials, so we have no choice but to plow through them taking damage each time.

Once our health is depleted, we’re dumped back to garage to spend whatever currency we earned on our run to upgrade our car in a bid to get further, to earn more currency, to upgrade our car, in a bid… you get the idea. We’re able to up-spuff our car with things like boost, guns, extra armour, more speed, and better traction, each with several levels to gain.

This gameplay loop can be quite fun in 5 minute bursts as we slowly edge closer to the finish line. Occasionally special zombies will appear that grant us extra currency, and we can do stunts and combos to gain more still. Learning the level layouts means we can make better use of our upgrades, and fulfilling the three challenges on each level to get the maxiumum three stars helps push the upgrade tree that bit further too.

However, it soon becomes obvious that clearing each stage is less about skill and more about attrition. It’s all but impossible to clear a stage without a fully upgraded car, which can mean anywhere in the region of a dozen runs at each to get enough currency to max it out. While there are some elements where we can skip damage (jumping over enemies or using the gun to kill them before we get close) all it really boils down to is holding the accelerator until we die, buy a few upgrades, and go again until we can brute force our way through.

Each level unlocked comes with its own new car, and though we can use any we’ve also unlocked previously, we’re going to need to spend time to upgrade this new car to have a hope of clearing the stage. And so it goes on.

There are some daily challenges that pop up on the map which is a neat function, offering up things like get the most flips or survive the longest. These are compared to real world players and would be the main reason for coming back regularly to try. We’ll need some decent cars though, so best get back to that grind in the meantime.


Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival is a fun in short bursts, though any longer and the simple fact we’re just grinding to progress rather than using much in the way of skill means it likely won’t live long on the SSD.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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  • Simple accessible gameplay
  • Nice chunky pixel visuals
  • Daily challenges might offer incentive to return
  • Boils down to simply grinding to progress rather than any kind of skill or learning
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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