Who: Developed by Vince McDonnell, and Published by the Playforge (the forgers of playtime?)
What: Farming simulation
Where: Fantasy Zombie World
When: Available now in the app store for *”Free”…
* item may not be that free
Why: Because everyone can find a strange monotonous addiction to virtual farming.
I’ve talked about the whole “free to play” model before and have seen it as mostly a good thing. This game seems to abuse that model slightly. A good “free to play” game will allow you to play indefinitely, but have sparkles, frosting, shiny things, and time saving bonuses behind cash walls. This allows everyone, casual and invested, to play on the same field while the invested players can stand out with their elite visual splendor and lower time investment. What I don’t like is when a game is completely blocked by a cash wall hidden in the game. If they were going to be honest they would have made this game a “Lite” version, allowing you to play up until level 10, and then letting you mess around all you want up to that point. Instead you get what seems to be a full game, that punches you in the face and shakes you down for money after level 10.
Zombie Farm plays much like it’s insanely successful big brothers Farm Town, Farmville, Aquarium Love, Monkey Tacos, and many others that plague Facebook news. Where is the Block All Applications button? The biggest difference, and selling point for anyone who has vowed to avoid the Facebook siblings are the zombies. Zombies are cool and zombies have been concept gold for a decade or so and I predict they will be for some time to come. Zombies are a great way of letting people destroy humans without feeling any kind of humane remorse, because well, they are already dead. Zombie Farm’s undead can be used to attack neighboring farms. This mode plays like a castle defense game, but you are on the attacking end. You must kill all the farmhands and eventually the farm master. While you fight the farmhands the farm master is chucking all kinds of stuff at your attacking force. The game mechanic is fun enough, but the major payoff is the chance of getting a brain, which allows you to unlock some of the higher level items. Brains are hard to come buy unless you want to drop real money on them.
The game is packed with plants like tomatoes, potatoes, and venus flytraps. Like the Facebook predecessors, each crop has it’s own grow time, which keeps you coming back to harvest, make some coin, and then replant or upgrade to something that yields more coin. The zombies work in much the same way. There are five main types of zombies: balanced, tough, nimble, fast, strong, and the fertilizers. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages when attacking farms. The fertilizers will run around your farm improving yields on all crops; plant and zombie.
There is an added level of depth present in this game that makes it a bit more than just a copy of other popular farm games. Placing specific crops around your zombie crops adds special bonuses to their stats like attack, speed, and defense. This requires you to do a bit of planning when planting because the zombies must be harvested before the crop to get the desired effect.
- Gameplay: 7.6 – Nothing new to the genre besides the small addition of strategic depth. The game still gets very repetitive and click heavy for no apparent reason but to take time. These games could easily let you select large regions instead of individual squares. Maybe I’m just not meant to be a farmer. Unlocking new zombies is fun but it comes at a price. Going beyond green zombies will require you to buy a BLUE gravestone, which unlocks the BLUE zombies. These are required for the battles after lvl 10 where the farmhands are armed with muscles and axes. Battles after level 10 are impossible to win, requiring you to spend $0.99 for the blue gravestone. The game suffers greatly from click inaccuracy, which is an issue on iPhone games in general and the farming games on Facebook. When these issues combine it gets pretty painful. This coupled with performance issues when zoomed in on a lot of crops makes the game unplayable sometimes. Sadly this is becoming common with games on the inferior 3G processor. Thanks for segregating the market Apple.
- Visuals: 8.1 – General crops and players look a lot like those present in Facebook farming games. Some of the more unique crops and zombies are pretty cool looking. Cyborg zombies are pretty bad ass.
- Sound: 8.3 – The music is very “farm-like” and thrown vegetables make a comic squishing sound. Hungry, battle craving zombies walk around saying “Brains” in a humorous voice that filled me with glee.
- Presentation: 6.8 – The presentation of this game seemed to irritate me from the beginning. Every single time you start the game it asks you if you would like to connect to Facebook. My account is already plagued with unstoppable, spam-like updates on pointless shit that other people have clicked on that I refused to ever allow the game to interface with Facebook in any way. Asking me once, every 5th time, or having an option in the settings would be welcomed, but being asked EVERY TIME was very irritating. Once the game loads up you get harassed by several other pop ups telling you to spend money on brains, give you a minuscule coin prize, and tell you AGAIN that connecting to Facebook could give you better prizes. Once you finish a battle, and I believe after you reach certain levels it makes sure to remind you to spend some real money to get better zombies, and buy some brains. All this does is help create some kind of pathetic money machine that I just don’t want to be a part of. There are too many less mundane ways to have fun for free.
- Zombieism: 8.4 – Zombie Farm represents it’s name pretty well. I was happy with the game’s visual depiction and variation in zombies. The “ZomBumpkin” was a bit confusing at first, because it’s crazy under-bite almost looked like a third arm or erupted chest burster. During battles your zombie army will get distracted by thoughts of rainbows, candy, and butterflies. That’s pretty amusing.
- Overall: 7.8 – I appreciate the zombie take on the whole farming genre, but the drive for money could have been masked a bit better. Zombie Farm seemed a bit too much like a prostitute that was lacking in it’s own ability, so it decided to jump on the massive zombie bandwagon. I’m not sure what a cheap zombie prostitute looks like, but I know I’ve spent enough time with one. I gave it $0.99 and in return got some more fodder for this review and that seems good enough for me. Although if you aren’t one of the tens of millions that have been sucked unknowingly into a farming game on Facebook you could find some enjoyment in this zombie flavored rendition.