Sometimes the living dead should just stay in their graves
One of the very first things I read upon starting up Zombies Crisis was the loading screen tip: “Get First-aid Packet and restore.” As a writer, the grammatical issues with that sentence (if you can call it that) rub me the wrong way. It was an odd first impression, but an accurate one. What follows that loading screen is a jumbled mess of bad controls, repetitive gameplay, awful dialogue, and almost nothing positive to look back on.
Zombies Crisis places you in the role of Anna, a warrior who seems determined to kill zombies. Anna’s adventure seems like a neat combination of Castlevania meets Resident Evil. You’re given many of the action-RPG mainstays: HP bar, MP bar, different weapons, and special abilities. You’ll get to use a handful of guns, grenades, and rocket launchers to kill zombies and make your way to the end of each stage.
The one point where Zombies Crisis feels truly unique is with damage. After taking damage, you’ll often find yourself transforming into zombie Anna. In this mode, you’ll trade your guns and abilities for claws and claw-based skills. You’ll do a ton of close-range damage, but your health will be slowly draining. To stop it, you need to use an antidote you may have picked up, and restore lost health by picking up a first-aid packet (and restore!). Transformation is a neat twist that would make the game incredibly enjoyable if the game itself wasn’t so bad to begin with.
That’s the problem. Despite a great idea by LeTang, everything else just falls apart from the start. The moment you first get control of Anna (after a boring cutscene filled with awful grammar and spelling), the game’s most obvious flaw comes to life: The controls suck. I hate putting it so bluntly, but there’s really no other way to describe it. On the left side, you’re given a directional pad that lets you move left/right, jump, and toggle crouch. On the right, you can switch weapons, use weapons, use abilities, and consume an antidote vial. The right-side controls are fine, but the directional pad comes with some issues. Having to press up (or up+diagonal) to jump feels quite awkward on a touchscreen, especially when the game struggles to transition from left/right to up if you don’t lift your finger off the screen. The other oddity is having to toggle crouch instead of holding it. Most players’ instincts tell them to hold down to crouch instead of toggling it with a button. It’s one of the lesser issues, but its annoyance is noticeable.
The controls and text are the most apparent issues, but even if they were improved, there would still be plenty of downsides to Zombies Crisis. The sound and music aren’t anything to brag about, the graphics are fair at best, and the difficulty is a bit too far on the easy side. All these issues would be fine in moderation, but their cumulative impact contributes to an experience that already struggles to provide any sense of fun.
I guess it’s possible for this game to be worse, but there’s not too much more it can do wrong. Fortunately for Zombies Crisis, this frighteningly awful experience was at least founded on a good concept. Also, the game never crashed on me. That needs to count for something, right?