Pro Zombie Soccer for iPhone Review: The Best iPhone Zombie Game for Less than a Buck
The App Store has been waiting for a game like Pro Zombie Soccer, a game that should put to rest the zombie craze that, ironically, just won’t die. We’ve played no fewer than a dozen zombie-themed games over the course of the last year, and finally with Pro Zombie Soccer by Chillingo, we get one that delivers all the excitement, gore, and entertaining plotlines that the genre deserves. The developers have managed to create a game in which each of these elements holds its own, providing a superb overall experience that you’ll want to play more than once.
Jax is a young guy who dreams of becoming a soccer superstar. His quest gets off on the wrong foot, though, when he shows up for tryouts with a bad hangover and gets banished from the stadium by the cruel head coach. Shortly following this incident, when it seems things could get no worse for poor Jax, the zombie invasion begins and he’s quickly bitten and (it would seem) doomed. With no other recourse, he decides to use whatever life he has left to kill as many nasty zombies as he can. His weapon? A soccer ball, of course. He sets off to explode some heads, but soon finds that he’s on the trail of the only solution to the zombie crisis, and it’s his duty to try and save the world . . . More could be said about the story, but to do so would ruin the surprises, twists, and big laughs that the Chillingo writers have deftly incorporated into this story. It conforms just enough to the zombie-genre stereotypes, while still showing full artistic liberty by managing to craft some plot turns that truly surprise and entertain.
You can’t get an adequate idea of the gameplay of PZS just by looking at screenshots. The blood-pumping action has to be experienced to be understood . . . Each stage positions Jax on the left-center of the screen, soccer ball at his feet. The zombie hordes approach from the right. By tapping the joystick behind Jax and dragging up or down, you adjust the directional arrow that shows where the kick will go once you release your finger and send the ball flying. As soon as it bounces back, it can be kicked again. It’s a mechanic that can be used with great accuracy or rapid-fire speed, whatever is necessary.
Chillingo didn’t hold back in expanding on this solid core gameplay. Certain zombies require different attacks: Some don’t die from a headshot, some require a power shot (hold before releasing), while still others might lose an appendage when first hit, but will have to be struck again before dying . . . There are also a number of special shots that can be used when the meter in the top left of the screen is filled. These power ups give you a faster kick, make the ball go straight through consecutive zombies, or even give you access to a satellite weapon that incinerates zombies with a powerful laser from space.
Graphically, PZS is crisp, fluid, and visceral in its excess of gore. Each level winds up with a satisfying slo-mo zombie kill that sends a spray of blood into the air, signifying that you’ve survived the last horde and can breathe a quick sigh of relief before Jax moves on to the next stage.
Chillingo covered all the bases here. The level designs are creative and integrate the power ups to great effect, requiring experimentation to figure out how to survive situations. You’ll be equally eager to read the comic-style cut scenes as you will be to blast some more zombies . . . The best way to summarize Pro Zombie Soccer is to say that it’s anything but a gimmicky knockoff looking to make a buck off the current World Cup hysteria sweeping the world. I had my doubts at first, but was quickly swept away by the engaging characters, compelling story, and great action. Do yourself a favor and set aside a good hour and a half to enjoy the game in one sitting. It’s fairly short, yes, but beating the campaign will unlock new features. Trust me, though, even without these additions, you’d want to come back and help Jax try and overcome the zombie invasion multiple times. It’s that good.
Our Score: 5/5