Bwah-ha-ha, with my hordes of undead, I shall rule the world!
Zombie Tycoon, from Firma Studios, is a comedic, strategic, zombie overlord simulator. It is available to download for the PSP (and now PS3) as part of the PSP Minis range.
The story is of fairly standard fare. Evil scientist creates potion for bringing the dead back to life, tries it on himself, becomes zombie. I am sure we can all relate to that. Anyway, it is down to you, the player, along with suitably “Igory” assistant, Ernest, to build a massive army of shambling corpses and take over the world.
At the centre of the screen is a cursor, and it is this that can be used to control your zombies. Move the cursor over a target and interact. The player can control up to three squads of eight zombies. Each squad is assigned a button, square, triangle or circle. The X button issues commands to all of your zombies teams at once. Then simply move the cursor over a target and press the appropriate button to have that squad carry out your orders.
In the case of a building or citizen, this will mean attack. Buildings, once conquered, will turn into a putrid green colour to signify that they are under your control. The player will be presented with various maps to work through and conquer, with various objectives.
Should your groups of zombies get separated, it is possible to switch between squads using the right shoulder button. Control of clinics is important as they have a fresh supply of bodies to be turned into zombies to replenish your ranks. These new zombies can replace the ones lost to the brave citizens who resist your control, such as policemen, firemen and biker dudes.
Camera controls allow the player to zoom in on the action, although the angle of the camera is fixed. The game looks dark and menacing in a suitably cartoony way, and the zombies themselves are well animated and look great on the little screen.
One of the best features of this game is the ability to customise your zombies. As you take control of buildings and destroy the residents, items can be collected that can be used to equip your undead army. From weapons, such as fish and guitars, to clothing, such as hawaian shirts or bibs. These can all be equipped to your zombies and their stats will be increased, with each item adding to the attack power or defence of your living dead.
The controls of this game are well thought out and very simple to use. Moving your zombies around the map and interacting with the environment really is easy. Unfortunately the games objectives can be, at times, quite frustrating. There are no real checkpoints, so if the player messes up a mission, then it is back to the very start of that mission. One level involves preventing citizens from leaving a map. This is made difficult by the lack of intelligence of your undead minions. They are quite happy to let people walk straight past them, and even attack them, without doing anything. This made the objective really hard and, with no checkpoints, the player has to begin from the very beginning of the level.
Realistically, this game is a mini and cannot be expected to last forever. It is indeed quite short. But the game offers humour, excitement and RTS fun, in a small and polished package. For the price of Â£3.49, fans of zombies and RTS games cannot go wrong.