8lb. Gorilla? More like 5lb. Chimpanzee. The 800lb. Gorilla in the gaming development world, Electronic Arts, recently announced on Touch Arcade that it has opened a new “micro-studio” to create iPhone games. It’s name? 8lb. Gorilla. Whereas EA usually focuses on higher price point games such as The Sims 3 or Tiger Woods PGA Tour 3, this new gaming studio will develop cheaper games with less depth to increase their dominance in the iPhone gaming market.
Enter, Zombies & Me (iTunes link), the launch game of EA’s micro-studio. Frankly, this launch fell flat on its face. We as iPhone gamers are spoiled with fantastic $1 games. Whether it is the classic Flight Control (iTunes link), or Stick Wars (iTunes link), there are TONS of brilliant $1 iPhone apps that will provide you with hours and hours of fun. Most importantly, these games have surprising depth: you don’t just pick it up and play for an hour and then forget about it. Well, apparently EA didn’t get the picture.
In Zombies & Me, you play the role of some guy who’s trying to save your mother’s house from getting attacked by zombies. It is raining missiles, as the military is conducting an air strike around your house to kill off the never-ending flood of zombies. Unfortunately, their accuracy is more like your father’s military than today’s laser-guided one. So, you have to run around and guide the zombies to the drop zone of each missile. To move, you drag your finger around the screen. Move close enough to a zombie (without getting mauled) and they start following you. Lead them right into the blast zone (denoted by a yellow circle) and send them back to hell.
The goal is to kill off as many zombies as you can before you die. Morbid as it sounds, that’s all there is to it. You can die in three ways: 1) Collateral damage (you linger in the blast zone too long and BAM! a missile falls on your head). 2) Your house gets assaulted by enough zombies that it loses all of its health (there is a health bar at the bottom of the screen). 3) You are eaten to death by the zombies.
The graphics are fantastic, and so is the music, but the gameplay is just not deep enough. I felt like this game was rushed out the door by EA in an effort to get on the map, and I still have high hopes that 8lb. Gorilla will be a success. But this first installation just wasn’t enough, not even for the low price of a $1.
This game is simple and it kept my attention for the first three times I played. But, after that (15 minutes of play time), I was done. It was boring and there wasn’t anything addictive or challenging about it. There were no levels. There were no variations in the game play. Perhaps if it was free, it might stay on my iPhone for a week or so. But, at this point, I’d rather have my $1 back and go get a soda from the vending machine. The caffeine high might keep my attention longer than Zombies & Me.