All aboard for zombie massacres with Zombies and Trains.

We already know the quickest way to take out a zombie is by taking off its head. That’s common knowledge. But did you know trains are also great for accomplishing mass zombie genocide? Dragonhead Games is on board, barreling through the App Store with a unique take on the usual zombie apocalypse simulator: Zombies and Trains. It’s an addictive, fast-paced exercise in tower defense where the shuffling undead horde is out for the brain in the center of the play field, and it’s your job to ensure they go hungry or are obliterated. Brutal? Yes. Fun? Absolutely.

Zombies and Trains puts you in immediate control of a grid of train tracks controlled via touch. It’s your job to stave off as many of the undead as humanly possible by tapping the screen to launch a train going across the screen or coming down from the top. Zombies advance, coming out of the woodwork from all angles. First they’re creeping, but as the game advances and you add more notches to your zombie-annihilating belt, they’ll get faster. Tap the screen either on a horizontal or vertical track to send a train hurtling down them, wiping out any zombie unfortunate enough to be near them. As long as they’re kept away from the prize in the middle, you can continue slaughtering away to your heart’s content. Should even one lowly zombie get its grubby paws on the brain, however, it’s game over.

In essence, it’s a mad dash to see how many points and kills you can rack up before your spree comes to an end. Nailing multiple kills at a time nets you combos and additional points, and of course coins. Coins, like most apps with in-game microtransactions, allow for one-time power-ups and augments to aid in the mass extermination of zombie-kind. Fire trains are a particular favorite, as their flaming wheels burning up the tracks creates a larger area of destruction to keep the flesh-eaters at bay. Earning coins is a slow process. You can purchase additional coins via real money, and you may be tempted to purchase additional power-ups since the thrill of decimating the zombies only increases when you can do it more efficiently.

Zombies and Trains

The longer you stay in the game, the more varieties of zombies pop out. You’ll see larger, hulking behemoths, speedier varieties, and other more resilient creepers around, and things really get to feeling like crunch time. It’s then that the slight delay in when the railroads can be activated becomes an obstacle. You can’t just go pressing the screen, expecting the trains to release at once all willy-nilly. There’s a delay at work that causes you to have to wait before sending another out, which creates a new layer of strategy. It forces you to think on your feet rather than spamming touch controls, and in the end helps the game feel more balanced than a battle royale between organic beings and locomotives.

Arcade mode is undoubtedly where you’ll spend most of your time, but Wave, Crossing, and Slaughter modes are entertaining as well, giving you reasons to test your zombie-slaying skills. Slaughter was one of the most enduring game modes, where you get a minute to kill as many zombies as possible. It meshed perfectly with the game’s pick-up-and-play style, and offered variety when the typical “see-how-far-you-can-get” mentality begins to stagnate. If the play style doesn’t get you, the visuals will. The cartoony zombies and their various entrails being strewn about the play field are delightfully gory, and the sound effects will get you primed for more monster-mashing fun. This is a title you’ll keep coming back to.

Zombies and Trains

Zombies and Trains is a surprisingly engaging hit that spins a tired trope into something much more fun and whimsical, and it’s a blast to play on the way to work, holed up in a shelter waiting for the apocalypse, or maybe on the throne. Pick it up and get your zombie-killing on.