This video game product represents a culmination of years of intensive psychological research, bleeding edge engineering, and artistic collaboration by over two dozen internationally recognized art houses, using such technologies as the HYPERMAGIC 3.0 engine to power never-before-seen eye candy with the MEGACORE X parallelization processor for smooth-as-glass presentation.
Most anyone reading this is already familiar with Ska Studios' I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 which is bar-none the breakout hit of Xbox Indies. Riding high on the strength of its tongue-in-cheek theme and memorable song, word of mouth and YouTube carried the game far beyond its otherwise standard twinstick shootery, selling in excess of 200,000 copies as of this belated review. No doubt a big reason Ska Studios was able to translate those demos into sales was thanks to the then new Xbox Indies price scheme which allowed I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 to be purchased for just a dollar (80 points), making an otherwise seemingly throwaway game a reasonable deal.
There's no question the real draw of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 is in its song. "I made this game using XNA / It costs a dollar, and I hope you pay it /Yeah, just a dollar and you'll be in it / cause I made a game with zombies in it." The self-referential lyrics and scratchy, shrieking vocals are funny and unexpected for this sort of game. The song itself is a nine minute long rock epic with music video style presentation effects on the ground including laser lettering and strobe lights. It feels silly and cheap, but people keep playing due to the nice twinstick shooter inside.
Although I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 is hardly a ground breaking twinstick shooter, it's a more than competent one offering about a half dozen weapon upgrades and tight controls and gameplay. Initially the player will be surrounded by basic zombie swarms, but in short order he or she will be fending off ASCII art, gelatinous blobs, and more. Shot enemies will reveal one of a number of upgrades including shotguns, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers with each same pick-up adding to the weapon's ammo stock and a different weapon replacing the current one entirely. The pacing of the action corresponds to the song well; there's a trippy mellow bridge during the song where the players will fight off slow moving asteroids just as in the arcade game of the same name, and the variety helps keeps things feeling fresh for the duration of the game. I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 supports four local players, and the game will pan out to encompass the action. The game is fun, but four players is a bit overkill, particularly when things are hectic enough packed with enemies with a single player.
The graphics are rather bland, but the concert presentation and sillier enemies help dress up the simple visuals. The entire game takes place on a single, flat screen with enemies attacking from the sides and the background graphics changing to suit the song. On the plus side, there's never any slowdown, and the game makes for a great pick me up type of game. Unfortunately, the game pulls the plug on itself at the end of the song, and any excess extra lives are dumped into the player's score and saved to a local leaderboard. I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 really needs an endless mode and some more diverse enemies, but it would seem that the game was never to be a true, "full" game and just something Ska Studios rattled off as a quick experiment of sorts. I'm still amazed I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 has received the sales it has given that the bulk of the game is playable within the eight minute demo timer, and with nothing locked out, is that last minute really worth the dollar?
Apparently, yes. I know I bought it, and though it's hardly among the best Xbox Indies and XNA has to offer, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 offers a good playing twinstick shooter with a unique charm of its own. Those interested can likely find themselves satisfied by the demo, but if one has local gaming friends available, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 makes for a great game to toss in every now and then while deciding on what next to play.