Othello of the Dead
I think I might have a bit of a bone to pick with whoever named Zombie Quest. Having heard the title I figured it was a RPG maybe, something horror related, me killing tons of zombies… that sort of thing. Consider me surprised when I found myself playing a board game, and nary a “quest” to be found! But non-applicable title doesn’t necessarily mean bad game, so let’s dig in.
The game plays out on various sizes of hex shaped boards made up of hex pieces. The point of Zombie Quest is similar to Othello or Reversi, in that when you move one of your pieces adjacent to enemy pieces, they flip and become yours. Slide in next to two target pawns, they both flip. So as the board fills up the swings tend to get larger and 4 or 5 pieces can change with each move. When the entire board is full, whoever has the most pieces wins.
On each of your turns you have two options (occasional special moves notwithstanding). You can either clone yourself to an adjacent open space or you can transport yourself to an empty spot two spaces away. The effect is the same in that you then convert any opposing forces adjacent to you when you move, but leave behind sometime a little different. Since you teleport in a sense, when you move two spaces you leave an open spot behind, which could potentially help or hurt you. I find it to be generally a bit riskier of a move.
Since your choices are so limited, you get to learn pretty quickly the when/why of which move you want to do at any time. You’re also careful to start building walls of pawns two deep so the opponent can’t teleport to the other side of them. At least initially, there are some ways around that.
You control a band of Werewolves and go up against various monster movie tropes and their minions. A crazy doctor and his zombies, Dr. Frankenstein and his monsters, Dracula and some vampires… you get the idea. Each act and move exactly the same way except for a one off special ability that you get control of after you beat them. They can do things like freeze someone in place, shield a pawn from being taken over, or fly across the board to inhabit an space.
The artwork is all pretty cartoony and definitely offers a lighthearted take on the things that go bump in the night. It may be called Zombie Quest, but it’s not blood and gore at all. Speaking of presentation, the minimal animation of the pieces sadly detracts from the whole experience. As the werewolves, wouldn’t it be cooler if my opponents pieces got bitten or howled and changes into werewolves when they flipped instead of just a lightning bolt popping out of my piece and into the others? Save that animation for the Frankenstein monster.
One real concern is that there’s really no reason to ever go back and replay levels, or to ever tread back over what you’ve done. A good board game can be played again and again, but with the exception of the barely used “special” moves, the game never changes from play to play. Even as you progress in level and battle other opponents, the setup is just always the same. The board gets a bit bigger, then random flame spots pop up. It’s the same thing over and over.
I did enjoy my time with Zombie Quest overall. My biggest takeaway though is that it’s sort of a one and done type of app. Good for a few minutes of fun, but won’t last on my home screen very long. Just no compelling reason to go back once you’ve played and gotten your fill.