Developer: Zynga Inc.
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Visually and thematically, Zombie Smash may remind you of its somewhat more lush castle-defense cousin Plants vs. Zombies. Sound effects are similar too, as are the as-you-go instructions that appear over your screen. But “look” is where the similarities end, and “feel” is where the differences begin.
In Zombie Smash, you do what you’ve always wanted to do to Zombies. You pimp-slap ‘em. You throw 'em across the screen. You beat 'em, you shoot 'em, you drop heavy rocks on 'em, you blow 'em up with grenades. And you do it up-close and personal, with actual tapping, dragging, flinging exertion that builds to such a full-body frenzy that your spouse kicks you out of bed by "night 11" —not of the marriage, of the game.
This actually happened to me. I was detonating land-mines, flinging survivors to their deaths (or whatever the undead do when you dispatch them), stunning the fast she-zombies, taking out too-heavy-to-flick Bruno with rock piles and grenades, and tapping the screen compulsively to collect reward stars… when I was accused of making my mate sick. It wasn’t that Zombie Smash was so evil or that I had gotten so addicted to the game. It was the mattress motion. This game is that good.
Whereas PvZ lets the plants do all the work, and insists you arrange a grid of defenses, in Zombie Smash you beat the living crap out of the Zombies, free of constraints. ZS also features SplatterEngine, a death and dismemberment simulator. When you whack the evil little undead rascals, they don’t just die. Body parts and heads come off, and cartoon blood spatters. You can throw heads, torsos, and limbs around afterwards. For the last Zombie in each “night” of your Zombie-killing calendar, the game urges “finish him,” a Mortal Kombat homage that is especially appropriate in this gorefest.
Want more? Zombie Smash also shows the last Zombie’s death up close, through the perspective of a video camera, in slow motion – then, lets you snap a picture and share it.
Gameplay choices include Sandbox, an experimental stage in which you cannot die; Campaign, a month-long “nightly grind” of Zombie-killing mayhem, and Endless Siege, which is exactly what you think. The music is compelling, the sound effects are just right, and on a 1-10 scale of addictiveness, Zombie Smash scores about a 17.
Conclusion: Buy this app. Now.