Digital Chocolate’s Zombie Lane Claws Its Way to iOS From Facebook, Google+

Calling the release the latest step in its new cross-platform strategy, Digital Chocolate has released a free-to-play iOS version of its Facebook game Zombie Lane compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The title launched on the Facebook platform in March of this year and is currently played by 2.5 million monthly active users, according to our tracking service AppData. A version of the game for Google+ was released in August. The iOS version debuted on November 22.

Zombie Lane for iOS is nearly indistinguishable from its Facebook and Google+ incarnations, although there are a few minor differences — and one more significant for players hoping to continue their experience between mobile and social networking platforms. That’s because there is no interaction between the mobile and browser-based releases even though they are so similar. Anything players do in the game on Facebook or Google+ has no impact on the mobile version and vice versa. This differs from the approach being taken by other publishers, such as Pangalore, for their upcoming native iOS releases that share data with their Facebook counterparts using Facebook Connect.

Still, the mobile version does an admirable job of capturing the qualities of the browser-based release. The game is visually engaging, and runs well even on earlier generation devices.

In Zombie Lane, players take on the role of either a male or female survivor of an undead apocalypse. Rather than a pure action game, it combines defending a location from zombies — in this case the player’s home — with building and farming aspects. Players must not only shoot zombies (by tapping on them), but expand and improve their home with various amenities and defenses as well. These goals are laid out in a series of various missions, that has players working towards goals such as repairing their homes so that their spouses will return, building new additions like tool sheds, and racking up a specific number of zombie kills in a 24-hour period. Players are able to unlock and purchase new weapons to aid them, but must also make sure to buy enough ammunition in order to keep using them.

Players are able to build and repair structures by salvaging supplies from the rubble of their once-idyllic neighborhood. In addition to the materials, such as bricks and screws, they’ll find, various actions will reward them with coins and experience points. Coins can be used to buy deco, housing components, weapons, and other items. Cash, the premium currency, is spent on premium items, energy (all actions expend this and it recharges over time otherwise), and for amassing required materials more quickly than through normal gameplay. Collecting experience points helps players level up and, when they do, they gain access to new items to purchase, bonus coins, and energy refills.

Social aspects of the game include visiting the neighborhoods of friends in order to help them pick up rubbish, thus earning bonus coins and items, and sending and requesting items that they or their friends might need to complete collections. The game is able to post updates to Twitter, should players give it permission, and connect with Facebook in order to invite players’ friends to try out the iOS version. All interaction between friends using the iOS release are handled through Game Center. A number of Game Center achievements are also available to unlock.

Digital Chocolate is monetizing Zombie Lane for iOS through in-app purchases of cash and coins using real money. Available transaction amounts range from $0.99 to $84.99.

Players will notice that the initial character customization options seem limited compared to the Facebook and Google+ release. But once in the game, the same options can be accessed from the customization menu. There are also some minor gameplay tweaks, such as a reduction in he number of steps required to perform some tasks like building. The user interface has been modified to take advantage of multi-touch gestures, including pinching to zoom the player’s viewpoint.

You can follow Zombie Lane’s progress using AppData, our tracking service for mobile games and developers.