Defend the monsters in Zig Zag Zombie

Zig Zag Zombie is a new iOS game from new developer PartTimeEvil. The game is available now in separate iPhone and iPad versions for $0.99 and $1.99 respectively. The iPhone version is presently 50 percent off its regular price, and the iPad version is 30 percent off.

Zig Zag Zombie is a physics-based puzzle game in which players must fling various supernatural creatures at enemies scattered around the level. In order to achieve the best score on a level, players must destroy all the enemy characters and collect three brains. This generally involves working out the optimum path through which to bounce the monsters and making use of the environment to the player’s advantage.

Controlling Zig Zag Zombie is a simple matter of dragging the various monsters around their start point to “aim” them, then pressing the “play” button to send them on their way. Monsters will bounce off walls and gradually slow to a halt over time, and some environmental elements will have special effects on anything passing over them, such as accelerating them in a specific direction. Different monsters have specific special capabilities — zombies are the basic projectile weapons, for example, while vampires’ flaming hair sets wooden walls ablaze, allowing players to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Conversely, many monsters also have weaknesses — vampires may not cross “sacred ground” areas, for example.

In terms of social features, players are able to brag about the scores they have achieved on a particular level using iOS 5’s built-in Twitter function. Players are not able to customize the Tweet that is sent, which contains an App Store link to the game version they are playing and an image of the app icon. The game also supports Game Center leaderboards for comparing scores with friends, though at the time of writing these were failing to load. The only problem with using scores in games like this is that there tends to be only one “correct” way to solve a level, meaning that most people are likely to achieve exactly the same scores. Ranking players by “number of brains collected” might have been a better approach, as this would allow players to directly compare their progress through the game rather than fairly meaningless numbers.

Zig Zag Zombie is a fun game that fits well into the “three star puzzler” genre of mobile gaming. It does this without resorting to direct cloning of another game, though the base mechanics are rather simple. This isn’t a bad thing, as it means players can pick up the base concepts quickly and be presented with gradually more difficult challenges using these simple mechanics over time. The game features a good difficulty curve, starting easy but not remaining so for long. This means that less experienced gamers will have time to learn the game, but veterans will not feel like the game is being condescending.

In summary, Zig Zag Zombie is a good addition to iOS’ extensive library of quick-hit puzzle games. The only real criticisms that can be leveled at it are the fact that the loading breaks are a little longer than they probably need to be, and the fact that it is yet another “cartoony zombie” game. Zombies are one of the most oversaturated thematic devices in all of gaming, and particularly so in the mobile sector. It would be nice to see developers thinking a little harder and using some  different themes once in a while — it would likely benefit the games’ commercial performance, too, rather than it being considered “just another zombie game” by casual browsers of the App Store.

Zig Zag Zombie is available now. You can follow its progress through the App Store charts with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.