Get ready for some undead slashing fun in Zynga’s Zombie Swipeout

If there’s anyone you’d trust to make a great zombie game, it’s a pair of doctors involved in genome research. That’s who’s behind The Game Doctors – the indie mobile studio that brought the world Zombie Smash back in 2010. Now a part of the Zynga team, the doctors are following up their castle defense classic with something a little more slash-happy.

Zombie Swipeout takes the characters and vibe of Zombie Smash and puts them in a fast-paced arcade-style slice and dice romp. And yes, we know what you’re gut reaction is going to be from the screenshots; “oh great, Zynga is just trying to make Fruit Ninja.” But while the basics are somewhat similar, like any good game, Zombie Swipeout is looking to grow the formula rather than simply copy it.

New innovations abound for fans of arcade slicers. Currency, for example, isn’t earned simply by performing well. You’ll need to actually slice the coins as they pop up on screen in the same way you would the undead. And that money? It can be spent on a variety of different weapons with different characteristics. Knives are sharp. Bats are blunt. And in play, they react in a way that reflects this.

But different weapons will also offer up different energy costs, and it’s here that you’ll likely find the answer to the “but what’s the catch?” question that we all find ourselves asking with freemium games.

Zombie Swipeout

Zombie Swipeout

As with many Zynga releases, energy in Zombie Swipeout recharges over time, but each round you play will cost you a different amount depending on the weapon you choose. Do you want to go in with a strong weapon and play fewer rounds? Or use something weaker that will let you play for longer?

Energy can be purchased with the same soft currency as weapons, but the more you spend here, the less you’ll have to spend on that shiny new sword. And these decisions really do matter if you intend to play Zombie Swipeout to its fullest, as the developers are hoping that a significant part of the draw will be the game’s weekly tournaments that can be set up amongst friends. If you want to get the high score that will put the rest of your office to shame, you’ll have to think real hard about the right path to take.

The game is set to offer a few other smart touches too, like keeping new weapons hidden in a locked crate until you reach the right level to help create an air of mystery, and letting you use a limited premium currency to “rescue” your game should you accidentally kill the good guy – much in the same way you might have used a quarter to continue back in the arcade.

Zombie Swipeout

Zombie Swipeout

In fact, “arcade” is the one word that keeps circling around in my head when I think about Zombie Swipeout. Following quickly on the heels of Zynga’s first entry into the arcade genre, the recently released Bubble Safari on Facebook, it’s hard to not get excited about the latest direction Zynga seems intent on pursuing. While the big Z is keeping their lips tightly sealed on any other upcoming games, it’s hard to not think they have some other arcade-style offerings up their sleeve. And with fast-swiping finger action like this, there’s really no better word to describe Swipeout.

Players eager to dice up some zombies on their own won’t have long to wait. The game is live in the Canadian App Store today, and Zynga is hoping to bring Zombie Swipeout to the rest of the world soon.