Survive 25 waves of zombies in this retro-3D shooter! 30 characters to choose from, over 20 weapons at your disposal, and thousands of zombies to kill! Play with up to 4 players in this action-packed adventure! Can you survive in Zombie Estate!?
Zombie Estate is going to see a lot of comparisons to I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1, the bar none runaway hit of Xbox Indies. Though they share a twinstick shooter design and a zombie theme, Zombie Estate loses the self-deprecatory song but adds in a greater number of character "skins," dozens of new weapons, a larger environment, and an ever increasing amount of undead which offers more variety without deviating from the theme (no diamonds here). Surviving the 25 waves in Zombie Estate also will take players significantly longer than the nine minutes I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES runs. So, Zombie Estate is the better game then, right?
Well, yes and no. There's no question Zombie Estate offers more value for its dollar. Jeremy Verchick has put 24 weapons for purchase in his game's store on top of the default, infinite ammo pea shooter. While old standards such as shotguns and assault rifles are present, the list of available firearms goes on to include a card shuffler, fish mortar, and cattle launcher. Players earn one dollar from each undead put to rest, and occasionally they'll drop more money when dispatched. I can afford the $2,000 rocket launcher around the fifth wave; most waves easily throw out about 200-300 zombies, so money isn't a problem here. Zombies also drop ammo crates - weapons fire one of four different types of ammo, also available at the shop - along with medikits which will restore about a quarter of the player's life. Money is best saved for weapons as the slaughter will provide more than enough ammo and life needed.
Also improved are the types of enemies. Some zombies regenerate health. Skeletons will dive and attack. The big ones take a real beating before going down. These aren't just palette swaps to vary the swarms, and the differing tactics required to take them down help keep the game interesting from wave to wave. While Zombie Estate supports four local players at once, the game is totally beatable with just one person along with smart money management and weapons purchasing.
The sad thing is how lacking in personality the game is. Sure, that sounds odd for a game which lets players choose among gingerbread men, tourists, robots, and ducks, but once the avatar choice is made, such silliness abandons the player in favor of hours of shooting pixelated zombie sprites to a dreary, humdrum cello soundtrack. The wacky weapon choices fall on the lame side - the cattle launcher is seriously not worth the $12,000 asking price - and the repetition grows once one is outfitted with a good package of weapons. It didn't take long for me to see that the rocket launcher and turret launcher were all I needed to cut through the mobs at will.
The environment also leaves much to be desired. The pixelated graphics make for muddy textures, and the flat character and enemy sprites can often become obscured by other objects or even just blending in too well with the ground textures. The bottom zombie count ticker has a habit of hiding low in-coming enemies, and the player sprites will sometimes snag on a tree even though no contact is displayed. These are small nitpicky complaints, but they do exist and will annoy when they result in some free hits by unseen enemies and those which should have been avoided were it not for the sloppy collision detection.
On the whole Zombie Estate is a fun but well worn shooter which is worth the price of entry but will not see much if any play once completed. There just isn't a lot of meat on the bone here, and while the same certainly holds true for I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1, that game knew better than to overstay its welcome. With 25 waves of zombie action with no means to save along the way, Zombie Estate can wear down one's patience. I definitely recommend this one as a simple, fun party game for those with local friends, but the single player experience can quickly grow tiring once the wow factor of playing a NES Left 4 Dead wears off.