It would be easy to write off Shoot the Zombirds as yet another bland mélange of trends (in this case, cute zombie games and bird-based mobile games). It would also be incorrect. The new title by Polish developer Infinite Dreams is not only cheap (99 cents on iOS / free on Android) and accessible, but it offers surprising depth within its seemingly limited context, and it does so with the power of accurate physics.
The story of Zombirds (insofar as it can be called a story) retells the age-old conflict between a skeleton boy and the evil zombirds, undead fowl who kidnap helpless Pumpkids (re: kids with jack-o-lanterns for skulls). The boy's only weapon is a bow and arrow, and he has to shoot down as many birds as he can before he runs out of ammo or loses too many Pumpkids. This is the sort of whimsically demonic setting that could be seen in any Tim Burton movie, and it's done very well, though it may be a turn-off for those who don't like that Hot Topic aesthetic. Also, the music tracks are catchy, but the voices of the Pumpkids are extremely annoying, but that cleverly motivates players to save them in order to shut them up, a la Baby Mario in Yoshi's Island. However, the gameplay is where Shoot the Zombirds really shines.
Successfully playing Shoot the Zombirds requires knowledge of physics and gravity. The arrows travel based on how far you pull them back, and they always travel in some kind of parabolic arc. Pulling the bowstring lightly means that the arrow will travel lower and fall quicker, but falling arrows can be equally useful in tagging your zombifiied prey. It takes a little longer to master the Zombirds bow than it would for many ninety-nine cent games, but the sophistication of this cartoony archery makes the effort worthwhile.
However, while the basic concept is fun and well executed, Shoot the Zombirds really shines when it comes to its game design and pacing. Each time you play, you get a mission objective for the incoming wave, such as having to hit a certain amount of birds consecutively, or bring down a certain amount of birds with only falling arrows. If you complete the objective by the end of the session, your scores will be multiplied in the next session, and you'll get coins to spend on power-ups, which change up the shooting mechanics and strategy. This makes it so that players have to complete all the missions if they want competitive scores on the leaderboards, but it also encourages them to think differently during each session. Different missions require different skills, and unlike most in-game achievements, Zombirds' objectives change the way you play the game. This is excellent for such a small game, and it makes Shoot the Zombirds one of the best deals of its price range (and it's free on Android!).
GameDynamo's Score for Shoot the Zombirds (Mobile)
Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
[View Shoot the Zombirds images / screenshots +]
[Watch Shoot the Zombirds videos / trailers +]
[View more Shoot the Zombirds articles (news, previews, reviews) +]
[View Shoot the Zombirds cheats / guides +]
More from GameDynamo