Atom Zombie Smasher
Most zombie games I play task an individual or a group with staying alive amidst an apocalypse of sorts. “Atom Zombie Smasher” sets things on a much larger scale, as you’ll be deploying forces to different areas of the map with the intent of reaching the victory point goal before the zombies (zed) do. This game is classified as a real-time strategy, but most of the time, you’ll be seeing dots. Lots and lots of dots. MORE DOTS! MORE DOTS! OKAY, STOP DOTS!
Editor’s Note: Somewhere, in the land of Azeroth, a Night Elf Hunter is laughing hysterically.
The main menu lets you start a new campaign, load an existing one, adjust game options, manage mods, and view extras. The options menu is fairly basic but covers mostly everything you’ll need, including screen resolution. There’s also a color-blind mode, something I don’t see very often in game option menus. Kudos to that!
Beginning a new campaign gives you a wide range of options. I have to come right out and say that I’m pleased that there are so many options that allow you to customize your game. Casual mode is perfect for new players just learning the ropes and for busy fathers like me who don’t want to think too hard after a long day at the office. You can set your victory point goal, which is what both the player and zed will be trying to reach before the other. Some of these mods are game changers, so feel free to experiment!
The first few missions introduce you to the gameplay mechanics, adding a new unit to your arsenal with every new map. Eventually, you’ll unlock all of them, but you’re given your basic units like the helicopter, sniper team, gas, and infantry early on. Your goal each mission will be to rescue as many civilians as you can, and you’ll have to rescue a minimum number to succeed in the attempt. To do that, you’ll choose a place for your helicopter to land and soon after, it will arrive and sound a horn, attracting all civilians (yellow dots) towards it. The helicopter will begin to fill up with civilians and leave once it has reached its maximum capacity.
While all of this is going on, zed (purple dots) will be entering the city from the sides of the map. The helicopter will come back after a short time and you’ll have the option to reposition the helicopter’s landing point, which you may want to do depending on where the civilians and zed are located. The mission ends when all of the civilians are off the map, whether they were converted to purple dots or were rescued by your helicopter. You are awarded points for the number of civilians you’ve saved and your units receive experience that allow them to level up.
In between missions, you’ll be presented with a map that keeps you apprised on where zed is and what territories they are currently infecting. The intensity of the infection is represented by a number: the higher it is, the harder your job will be, though with more risk comes more rewards. Once you progress to a certain point, you’ll gain access to a tech tree of sorts that will allow you to purchase upgrades. To unlock new abilities and improve on existing ones, you’ll have to rescue scientists (blue dots) during your missions…they serve as the currency you’ll need to purchase these upgrades.
At the bottom of the mission select screen is your victory point tracker, tracking both your progress along with zed’s. Your goal will be to do good enough to reach the required victory point goal before zed does. You can earn extra points by destroying all of zed on a map during a mission, among other things. As the player and zed progress up the victory point tracker, new abilities and modifiers will unlock that will serve to help their respective team.
Overall, this is a fun diversion that I come back to every so often. The mods are varied enough to allow me to make it as easy as I want, which is always a plus. There are a lot of different units to command and while they are randomized each mission, in-game mods make it possible for the player to choose which units they have access to at any point in time. For a game obsessed with dots, it’s a lot of fun and for as cheap as it is ($9.99 as of 11/18/12), it’s worth picking up. There’s a free demo on Steam if you like to try before you buy, link below.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about “Atom Zombie Smasher” by visiting the following website:
You can purchase the game and download the demo on Steam, located here:
You can view play sessions, here: