If you're a hardcore mobile gamer, you've likely heard of Hothead Games, the Canadian developer that released the popular Sea Stars on iOS late last year. Like Sea Stars, the company's newest game Zombie Ace asks you to travel as far as you can to the right of your device's screen, but its theme is definitely different from the cute underwater adventure of Sea Stars.
As a zombie pilot, you'll take to the skies with zombie troops in tow, traveling from Seattle to major cities around the US in an attempt to infect them with the zombie outbreak. Each game sees you tapping and holding on your screen to raise your plane in altitude while releasing will see the plane slowly hover back to the ground. This style was made especially famous by Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride, but the gameplay here has been made more complex with the addition of optional landing zones in the form of those major metropolitan areas. That is, as you approach Portland or San Francisco (the first two cities you'll encounter after leaving Seattle, as examples), you'll be able to fly into the city in order to drop off your current zombie supply. Each city requires a different number of zombies to fully infect, with that number becoming larger with each city over time. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly easy to overshoot a city entirely, or to crash on the buildings in front of the city's actual city limits, adding unnecessary difficulty to that particular feature.
There are obstacles aplenty to avoid during flight, the most common of which are enemy aircraft. You can tap on the enemy planes to launch your zombies into them, destroying the enemy in the process and causing your zombies to hover with parachutes on the screen, where you can either fly into them or tap on them to pick them back up. Other obstacles include clouds that can launch you higher or lower on the screen or simply slow your progress down, an evil yeti, buildings, vehicles and more. You'll need to balance plenty of different elements each time you play, from dodging obstacles and enemy bullets to guiding your plane into coins that help you earn bucks, the game's free currency. All the while, your plane's fuel will deplete, meaning that you'll eventually end up landing in a city or crashing once it runs out.
Gallery: Zombie Ace on iOS
You can upgrade your plane as you play, giving you additional fuel to work with, a faster flight speed and so on, and you'll be able to complete missions of increasing difficulty in sets of three. One mission might ask you to land a specific number of times in a certain city, for instance, while another wants you to fly a specific number of miles in a single flight. The missions are varied and help keep the gameplay fresh, but with all of these elements to keep track of at once, the gameplay can at times become a bit overwhelming.
Furthermore, we experienced some technical issues with the game in terms of crashing and freezing in the middle of a flight, but these can obviously be fixed in a future update. Back in the main menu, some of the plane upgrades demand that you use Brains, the game's premium currency, to purchase them, so it would be nice to see additional methods of earning said Brains, outside of simply purchasing them with real funds or completing various social media connections.
All told, Zombie Ace is a fun addition to the "survival" genre on iOS, with the city-infection system giving the game plenty of longevity as it will simply take a ton of attempts to actually reach and infect New York City, your end goal. There's room for improvement here in terms of technical issues, and in terms of making landing in cities an easier process, but as a free experience, Zombie Ace is definitely worth a shot.
Click here to download Zombie Ace on iTunes --->
What do you think of Zombie Ace on iOS? Do you think you'll like it better than Hothead's Sea Stars? Sound off in the comments!