Zombie Gunship from Limbic Software is an app that tries to combine two immensely popular elements from different games with the hope of making some magic. In this case those two things are the AC-130 gunship segments of Modern Warfare and the undead. Despite the widespread use of zombies in video games and media, this is one of those rare cases where adding the undead ironically breathes some life into a game.
The premise is very simple. The zombie apocalypse has taken hold, and humans are swarming to military bunkers, but they’re not alone. You take role of a gunner in an AC-130 gunship, and your duty is to get the people in, and keep the dead out. Through your thermal sighting, humans appear as white, while the horde of the dead appears as black, making clever use of the mechanic from Modern Warfare. Your mission doesn’t end until a zombie breaches the bunker, forcing it to close, or until you kill three civilians. This becomes extremely challenging as civilians end up mixed in with the mass of zombies, forcing you to either kill them, or hold your fire and let them get closer to the bunker. Things really get hairy when the tank zombies from Left 4 Dead show up, which take huge amounts of damage to kill. You won’t be lasting very long at all in the early game. After a mission ends, you are graded and rewarded with coins. It’s kind of funny that they’re called coins rather than dollars, or anything else more specific. You receive a bounty for every zombie you kill, as well as every civilian you successfully protect. You can then apply these coins to various upgrades for your arsenal.
You start the game with a 25mm Gatling gun, which is rather weak. It’s great for precision when you need to snipe zombies away from people without killing the people. It’s definitely better for short bursts of fire. You can quickly upgrade to the 40mm Bofors gun, which will be your main weapon for the game. It’s very versatile and great for dealing with groups. Eventually you can buy the massive 105mm Howitzer, which holds a single shot before needing to reload, but devastates huge clusters of zombies. Definitely use it to help you take out the tanks faster.
Every gun has several upgradeable components to make them more efficient. Things like reload speed, bullet speed, damage radius, etcetera. There are also extras to upgrade. You can increase the bounty for each zombie you kill, improve your radar, or stock up on bomb buddies, which act as safety nets, killing one breached zombie per session, allowing you to continue.
The game is very simple, and can easily feel very repetitive. It’s definitely meant to be played in short bursts of only a few sessions at a time. The sound design and visuals do an excellent job of recreating the feel of the Modern Warfare segments. It kind of annoys me when I get scolded for killing a civilian who was surrounded by thirty zombies on all sides, as if they were going to survive anyway, but I’ll accept it. The game includes Game Center leaderboards for some competition.
If you don’t want to work to earn your upgrades, you can simply get coins through in-app purchases. These range from one dollar purchases to … fifty bucks!? Are you kidding me? Who would spend fifty dollars on a one dollar app. Oh yeah, this is a one dollar app, by the way. It’s definitely a great value, and a lot of fun. Check it out.