Appletell reviews Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for iPhone, iPod touch

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Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesCategory: Arcade action games
Seller: Freeverse
Requirements: iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
File Size: 57.9MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Price: $2.99
Age Rating: 12+

Back when I was a wee English major at a small university in the middle of an Ohio cornfield, I took a class in Victorian literature. I was the only male in the class, and I was constantly reminded of that by my classmates, by my professor, and by the authors we read. Ends up Victorian literature and Victorian underground literature are completely different things. Bear that in mind when registration rolls around in the fall.

In that class, we may have read some Jane Austen, but we didn’t read Pride and Prejudice. I also haven’t seen any of the myriad film/TV adaptations. And now that I’ve played Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I don’t see that I ever will. Expecting zombies that never show up would be like…well, watching Jason and the Argonauts only to discover that the sword fighting skeletons had been edited out.

Thankfully, this game is based on a novel. You can buy it now and read it. It starts thusly:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

It’s funny ’cause it’s true!

The game starts the same way, and uses the same sense of humor; specifically, juxtaposing uptight Victorian era British mannerisms with zombie disembodiment. Look at the well-mannered and tightly corseted women kick and slash their way through hordes of undead. It’s inspired; the kind of thing that makes me furious I didn’t come up with the idea. I haven’t read the novel beyond the sample chapters available online, but I will. In the meantime, there’s this game, which I suppose I should get to reviewing now.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an arcade action fighting game. It contains some of the humerous narrative of the book, but otherwise focuses mainly on combat, as well it should.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

As is common with such iPhone games, you control your movement with a virtual D-pad on the bottom left of the screen (this can be swapped for left-handed gamers). Fighting, however, is handled quite differently. You can simply tap a zombie (or group) to attack, or you can perform special attacks by swiping in different directions to execute cooler moves. These are more powerful (and conducive to fighting different types or numbers of enemeies), but they drain your attack meter. When that’s gone, you’re relegated to normal attacks until it fills back up. You’ll do this across 12 levels, scrolling from left to right as you clear them out. You’ll collect coins along the way with which you can purchase stronger attacks.

This mostly works pretty well. The zombies are easy to kill individually, but the numbers are quickly overwhelming. If you complete even level one on your first try, then you’d make a better Victorian-era woman than I. It’s frustrating, but in a fair way…you can never get made at the game’s design, only at your lack of skill.

Speaking of design, the look of the game is both impressive and humurous. You can see what I mean in the screenshot below.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The graphics are richly illustrated, like color versions of the illustrations you’d find in a hardbound copy of the actual Pride and Prejudice. But what I really dig are the people on the left. What is it about them that seems so hilariously perfect? They’re not frigthened of the carnage about to happen before them, so…simply aghast? Titillated? Haughty? I don’t know. This typical depiction of Georgian England just makes me laugh in the game’s zombie framework, and you get it a lot.

Bits of the story come through in between the levels, so you do get a sense of what’s going on around you and who these people are. How much of the novel is revealed here, I don’t know, but you may want to hold off on playing the game if you do plan to read the book.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

After a few levels of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, however, “sameness” sets in. Aside from varying enemies, there’s not much to differentiate one scene from another. So, if the sense of humor doesn’t carry you through all 12 levels, the gameplay likely won’t. On the other hand, once you figure out the proper attack methods and master the swiping controls, it does go by rather quickly.

And I will confess that I enjoyed the game more than anything I read back in that class at ONU…or pretended to read, anyway. The great thing about such a class is that if you fill your exam essays with ideals sympathetic to the subjection of women, it’s easy to get an A without having to actually know what you’re talking about.

Bear that in mind when registration rolls around in the fall.

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  • Sara

    Just FYI, P&P is Regency, not Victorian. :]

  • Kirk Hiner

    Well, that would explain why we didn't read it in Victorian lit!