The gaming landscape has forever been changed since the introduction of the App Store and the iPhone. It opened the door to a flood of bite-sized experiences that were either free to play or very low in cost. Of course this led to a never-ending stream of shovelware, since anyone could publish a game.
With Nintendo Switch we were somewhat protected from this type of software in the beginning months where Nintendo curated content and tried to be a bit more selective with what appeared on the eShop. Since its fantastic popularity, everyone wants to make games for the Switch (except EA, right?), which on its face is a positive sentiment. Unfortunately, now we’re getting upwards of 15 games a week releasing on the Switch, of which usually only a couple are truly worth your money. I, Zombie (not to be confused with iZombie, the popular CW TV show) is on the cheap side – coming in at only $4.99. Even so, I’d stay clear of this horrifying wannabe strategy game.
I, Zombie bills itself as a strategy game, and to be fair it sort of is. You play a zombie that must try and assimilate the NPCs wandering about a single-screen environment. All you have to do is run into them and their life bars deplete and they turn instantly into your minions. You can then issue commands, like follow, stay, or attack. Attacking becomes necessary when going up against some of the patrol guards with machine guns. They will shred your main in seconds, but they stand little chance of survival when you sick a horde of zombies at them.
Each level is pretty much the same exact thing. There will be obstacles in the way, like buildings, and the guards will walk the same perimeter over and over again. You’ll need to time your movements to not be seen by the guys with the guns. It’s usually essential to build up your horde before taking on the armed men. Once all of the enemies are either defeated or turned into zombies you clear the level and move on to the next. You’re given a star ranking depending on how many zombies made it to the end and how long it took to complete the level. Most stages take very little time to beat – some in under 20 seconds.
The core concept of sneaking around and amassing an army of undead works well. However, the gameplay is drab and boring, as are the graphics and music. The whole presentation leaves much to be desired. Not only does this look like a mobile game, but also it could have easily been one that released like 10 years ago. As the levels progress there’s just nothing that sets one apart from another. The characters all look the same and the stealth isn’t fun as it’s often unclear at what point a character will spot you. A disturbing lack of power-ups or collectibles means that once you’ve played the very first level, you’ve pretty much played the entire game. This might have been acceptable back in the Atari 2600 days, but I expect more from games these days.
The only bright spot, if you can call it that, is that the game does feature a level editor. This allows you to create your own levels and share them online. You can try other creations as well. But, again, the same problems crop up and no matter how much window dressing you throw at a stage it’s going to still play exactly the same. Boring.
If you’re looking for a boring, unattractive, and basic game that does nothing to push the strategy genre forward, then I, Zombie is your title. For everyone else, steer clear of this disaster. It has no unique identity, and could have been at least a little entertaining if it leaned into the comedic side or horror elements, of which it does neither. The official description of the game states, “Each scenario requires a different tactical approach and careful planning to achieve world domination”. Sorry, but I call bullshit. Every single level requires the exact same strategy of not getting seen by the guards and amassing a group of zombies. There’s literally no tactical element here whatsoever. Don’t bother with this one.
I, Zombie was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.