It hadn’t occurred to me until playing the : Zombie Outbreak iPhone game ($2.99) for the first time, but real-time strategy games are perfect as iPhone games. The genre is point-and-click by nature; clicking to add artillery or base fortifications and then dropping them somewhere on the world map.
That’s basically the entire genre in a sentence. So it makes sense that BioDefense would be so fun and easy to play on an iPhone, where you point and tap the screen to accomplish all of your actions.
Anyone who has ever played the classic RTS Starcraft for even a few minutes will be comfortable with the design of BioDefense: Zombie Outbreak almost instantly. The mission menu first takes you through two training missions which show how you place your defense system, lights and power plants. From there, you’re thrust into some fairly difficult missions that mostly involve you trying to keep your base from being overrun by zombies.
There is an additional mode that functions as a survival mode, as you try to see how long you can keep your base standing before you’re overrun. In either mode, the core game play is easy to understand and subtly deep, but there’s more to BioDefense that laying out lines of defense weapons and watching the zombies perish.
The player must purchase lights, illuminating the ground in front of them, before they can see a zombie to kill it or even place anything else on the ground. Things get infinitely trickier, and more fun, as the zombies wise up and start smashing your lights, knowing you can’t kill them if they can walk undetected to your base. Additionally, players must take into account that the radioactivity that is used to purchase in-game upgrades must be mined from specific places on the map.
To be clear, BioDefense isn’t as deep a game as Starcraft. There aren’t multiple races to control, each with their own specific powers. You only have a single race of people that doesn’t seem to have any particular strengths or weaknesses. And there isn’t an online multi-player component to the iPhone game, either. But if you’re looking for an exciting real-time strategy game, BioDefense: Zombie Outbreak is a perfect option.