iPhone App Video Review: Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies

by Andrew Koziara

Nazi Zombies is arguably the coolest thing developers Treyarch have brought to the Call of Duty franchise. Two years after the release of the first Call of Duty: Zombies for iOS, we're finally getting a sequel in Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies. It's a solid entry in the series with improved visuals and updated control options.

For those who don't know, Nazi Zombies is a survival mode in Call of Duty: World at War and Black Ops. The goal is to take on increasingly challenging waves of the undead for as long as you can. Zombie entrances are barricaded until the zombies break through, and part of the challenge is repairing barricades while also watching your own back. Everything you do, from clocking headshots to entrance upkeep results in points. Points are used as a currency to purchase new weapons and ammo, activate zombie traps, use teleporters, and unlock new areas of the map. New areas give you access to new items, but they also increase the zombie entrances you'll have to deal with.

There is a lot of strategy involved with spending your points wisely and keeping your defenses strong. You can make use of grenades, but they were only useful in slowing zombies down by blowing their legs off, and not so much for killing. You can aim down the iron sights, but it's hard to aim properly and slows down your movement too much to be useful. You can purchase extra lives or "revives" as they're called, and zombies will also occasionally drop special power-ups like insta-kills, score multipliers, and even wave clearing nukes. Where the game really shines is in the multiplayer. Unfortunately, the multiplayer would not work for me at all, even though my iPhone was connected properly. Single player pro-tip for you. Leave one zombie alive at the end of a wave and then bait it around the map so you can repair all the barricades and stock up on ammo.

There's a tutorial to teach you how to play, but I have some issues with it. The NPC teaching you to play is not voice acted, which is fine and dandy, but the instructional text and dialogue is way to flipping small, and I could barely read it. This annoyed me, and I just felt the need to point it out. Now, I'm fairly bad at Nazi Zombies on the consoles, at least when it comes to single player, and playing with touch controls doesn't really help, but the touch controls are fairly well done here. They've been expanded to include dual sticks, touch, and tilt configurations. The dual sticks are the 'touch-anywhere' variety, and can be really clunky and difficult at times. I found the touch control option to be much better. My only complaint is that the auto-aim can hurt you just as much as it helps you, and it's a bit finicky.

There are currently only two maps to choose from, "Kino" and the unlockable "Dead-Ops Arcade," with Ascension coming soon, and more maps promised in the future. You can also choose between four colorful stereotypes to play as. The graphics are well done, and slightly better than the previous game, although the Kino level is so dimly lit that you wouldn't know it. The screen effects and exploding zombie limbs are as well done as ever. The menus have embraced a comic book motif that is pretty cool looking, but it can also feel cluttered and unnecessary. The game mostly played smooth, but there were a few spurts of really bad slow down and lag, even on an iPhone 4. People on older devices have it even worse, with lots of crashes and other issues. There are plenty of settings to tweak to increase performance, though, so try them out before you write the game off. Game Center achievements and leaderboards are supported, and this new entry in the series is iOS Universal. You can enjoy some zombie killing fun for just seven dollars. It doesn't compare to its console counterpart, but it's still well done and a great portable version that really captures the spirit of the game.

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