Zombie Minesweeper is a mobile game from Octo Industries. The game was released on iOS back in 2011 to modest success, but has recently seen a port to Android and is reportedly performing quite well. This review is based on the new Android version, tested on a Motorola Xoom tablet running Android 4.0.4. The game ran fine on this combination of hardware and firmware, though was a little sluggish at times.
Zombie Minesweeper is a fast-paced take on the classic Windows timewaster Minesweeper. Rather than spending hours agonizing over where the mines are, however, Zombie Minesweeper’s twist is that the protagonist — who replaces the mouse cursor of the original — must not only avoid and flag mines, but must also avoid the unwanted attention of various zombified creatures while attempting to reach the level’s exit, marked by a detonator that will set off all the mines.
Basic gameplay involves tapping to move on the isometric-perspective 3D rendered grid. The protagonist will then move to the tapped location and treat it as if the player had clicked on that square in the original Minesweeper. Safe squares will be automatically revealed, as will numbered squares showing how many mines are in the immediate vicinity of that tile. The player may “flag” squares they know to contain a mine by tapping the flag symbol at the side of the screen, though they are not required to do this in order to complete the level. The only requirement for successful completion of the level is to reach the detonator at the end in as few attempts as possible, but additional points are scored for correctly flagging mines (and points lost for incorrectly flagging) and defeating zombies. The latter may be achieved either by luring them over spaces the player knows to contain mines, or by picking up bomb items scattered around the level and dropping them in a zombie’s path. Later levels also add shotguns to defeat zombies directly, and brains to lure them into traps. More points are scored for defeating several zombies in a single explosion, and it’s even possible to defeat zombies after the level has been completed — all correctly-flagged mines will be detonated upon the completion of a level.
After completing a level, the player is given medals according to their performance. There is one medal for the number of times the player died in the level, another for how many mines they correctly flagged, and a third for how many zombies they defeated. Each medal has bronze, silver and gold ranks to attain, though these serve little purpose other than to provide the player with something to aim for in subsequent replays. Similarly, the game’s score mechanic has little to no relevance on Android — the iOS version formerly supported OpenFeint and now uses Game Center, but the Android version has no social features besides the ability to tweet one’s score at the end of each level.
Lack of social features aside, Zombie Minesweeper is a fun twist on a game which has been around for many long years, and in practice feels like a completely different game to its venerable predecessor. It is well-presented — though the scaled-up graphics are a little fuzzy on Android tablets — and features simple, intuitive gameplay. The main criticism that reviewers from among the public seem to have is that there is not enough content — skilled players can blow through all the available levels in less than an hour, though seeking gold medals and high scores will add a considerable amount of play time. On the whole, this is a decent game, and a good addition to Android’s game library.
Zombie Minesweeper’s iOS incarnation is not currently ranked on any leaderboard. The new Android version, meanwhile, is currently ranked at No. 377 on the Games leaderboard and No. 82 on the Brain Games leaderboard, having peaked at No. 42 on the latter on Feb. 23. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.
A great addition to Android’s game library, and a fun, creative take on a classic formula.