The latest release from British outfit doublesix studios is something of a contrast to their normal effort. Typically a multi-platform developer, delivering products to console, mobile and PC formats, All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse is available for only the latter. While not ruling-out the possibility of a console release down the road, All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse is a pocket money title intended for casual play on that core gamer format, available now via Steam.
Expanding on the popular All Zombies Must Die! franchise, All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse isn’t a downloadable add-on but a standalone title. doublesix studios were keen to make All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse available to as many players as possible, whether or not they’ve got experience with the original videogame. Using the same basic rules as All Zombies Must Die!, moving-and-shooting in the now traditional twin-stick fashion, All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse removes the predetermined progress aspect of the original videogame and replaces it with an overarching score mechanic.
As could most likely have been deduced from the title, All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse is a high score based videogame experience. There is a progression system to be entertained, but more important are the array of leaderboards. Each level and amount of participating players (up to four can play simultaneously, though only on a single system as network play is not featured) has its own leaderboard, and climbing to the top of them is All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse’s biggest challenge.
Doing so isn’t so much a matter of taking out as many zombies as possible before dying as it is learning which techniques offer you the most points, and manipulating your enemies into providing you those opportunities. Anyone can score a couple of thousand points by simply pulling that trigger over-and-over as the hordes march towards you, but being able to navigate your way through the bad guys to the new weapon that has spawned, or the environmentally granted status effects is a real challenge. These status effects work just as they did in All Zombies Must Die!, fire is contagious, sound prevents movement and so on, but here in All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse it means bonus points for not only inducing but also sustaining such effects on multiple enemies.
In addition to the basic set-up come the bonus objectives. Throughout each high score run All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse will throw a number of additional objectives at the player, be they set alight a specific number of enemies or find a certain number of dropped items, completion of which will lead to bigger scores. One of the potential objectives is actually a double-barrelled design, coupling the high score run with the aforementioned progression system. As opposed to simply achieving a set score or killing a set number of enemies, players will access later, more challenging maps by rescuing civilians. One civilian is located on each level, and when the objective tasking the player with saving them appears this is not only another chance to increase your score, but also your cue to push forward and unlock the next map. It’s an interesting mechanic certainly, but one that feels a little at odds with the immediate nature of the rest of All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse’s design.
All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse is an appealing title visually, with it’s adult cartoon visual style offering a digital comparison to late night animation programmes and adult comedy graphic novels. The characters are just as well designed as the variety of zombies, and the levels compliment this despite their limited nature. The sound quality is somewhat limited by comparison, but given All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse’s budget price-tag this is hardly an aspect worth quibbling over.
Despite its seemingly simple premise, All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse is a surprisingly deep videogame experience. It still features an upgrade mechanic for which players must achieve new goals to better themselves. Of course, the greater their damage and health, the easier the videogame becomes, and so it’s not until some time has been invested and the difficulty for all players begins to plateau that players will be able to make their mark on the leaderboards. This, and the fact that All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse is limited to single-system multiplayer only, seem to work against the videogame’s core appeal, but nonetheless doublesix studios have crafted another fine slice of action gaming. All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse offers the same immediacy of All Zombies Must Die!, but it’s unlikely to benefit from the same longevity.