Zombie Panic in Wonderland Plus is an iOS port of Akaoni Studio’s popular downloadable game for the Nintendo Wii. The Universal app is available now as a free download with a variety of in-app purchases to unlock the game’s full content.
Zombie Panic in Wonderland is a simple third-person shooter where players are tasked with fending off incoming waves of zombies using a selection of weaponry. Tilting the device left or right causes the player character to move left and right, tapping or holding on the screen fires at the spot tapped on, double tapping throws a powerful grenade and swiping allows for quick diving dodges out of harm’s way. The aim on each level is to fill the “enemy destruction” meter in the corner of the screen. When it reaches 100%, the level is complete and the player receives score bonuses based on the highest number of zombies destroyed in rapid succession (a “combo”), the amount of destruction caused to the level’s environment and how quickly the level was completed.
The game features several modes. Story mode sees protagonist Momotaru proceeding through a series of stages based on fairytale stories like Alice in Wonderland or Little Red Riding Hood. Arcade mode removes the “story” and challenges the player to score as many points as possible using Momotaru or other fairytale characters. The game also promises several forthcoming features such as a Survival mode where players will have to hold out for as long as possible, and a Wonderland level pack, which will star Alice rather than Momotaru.
While the app is free, it only gives players access to a single level and character. All other features must be unlocked via in-app purchase, which allows players to choose how much game they would actually like to pay for. Individual characters may be purchased for Arcade mode one at a time (though they must be purchased in a specific order) or as a complete package. Story mode is also an in-app purchase, with levels then becoming available in Arcade mode as they are completed over the course of the story. Various powerups and cheats can also be bought to make the play experience — and the rise to the top of the Game Center leaderboards — a little easier. The game also includes a “Complete Pack” option for $12.99. Although the Complete Pack bundles all the game’s available purchases together, it’s not clear if this pack includes the additional Wonderland and Survival content planned for future updates. Purchasing anything from the store removes the in-game ads, and this alone will be worthwhile for many players — the version tested featured awful flickering graphical glitches where adverts should be on certain occasions. This issue is visible in the screenshot at the top of this review.
The game features a distinctive, stylized, anime-esque aesthetic, though developer Akaoni Studio is actually Spanish, not Japanese. Momotaru is an androgynous anime protagonist, and the additional characters (all female save for an alternative samurai costume for Momotaru) are presented as “sexy” versions of their traditional selves — most are wearing skimpy outfits and tend to flash their panties as much as possible. While this sort of “fanservice” is fairly typical for the anime genre, some may find it a little offputting. This issue aside, the game is well-presented, with smoothly-animated 3D visuals, well-drawn cutscenes between levels and high quality audio.