Preview: Animales de la Muerte becomes Zoombies

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zoombies animales de la muerte
High Voltage Games’ Animales de la Muertes has been buzzed about for years. People have constantly wondered what had become of the zombie apocolypse set in a Mexican zoo. Zoombies eliminates that wait. Over the last few years, the game has been transformed. What started out initially as a shoot’em up for consoles has become the casual, mobile action game Zoombies: Animales de la Muertes. GamerTell was recently able to attend a High Voltage Games event in which Josh Van Veld, Senior Producer, talked and showed off his new iOS and Android baby.

Animales de la Muerte‘s gameplay and graphics may have changed, but the premise hasn’t. Zoombies stars two children who are visiting a Mexican zoo on a field trip. While there, a virus breaks out among the animals, launching the zombie apocolypse. Inexplicably, the zoo was prepared for this. The children are armed with hatchets, machine guns, crows and such and sent to eliminate the zombified animals while keeping the healthy ones safe.

The build of Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte I played was complete, with all 45 levels available. They were broken up into 15 in each area, meaning three places were available to visit. Each level is set, so there aren’t random challenges. Each time I’d face it, the enemy waves would be the same. The characters were adorable, even the zombified monsters, and there was constantly happy, festive music playing. Van Veld said the developers found it adorable, and wanted stuffed toys of the zoombies made mainly for themselves, but also said there was a, “layer of sorrow with Zoombies” due to the endless eradication of adorable, infected animals.

The little boy and girl are static in Zoombies. I was in charge of dragging my finger along the touch screen to create a path for their weapon to follow. As animals are constantly lumbering forward, it was in my best interest to try and time things so that my attacks would hit as many opponents at once. Also, I would only be drawing the forward assault pattern. After the weapon reached the end of the line, it would boomerang back to the little boy or girl. If I wanted to pass a level, I had to make sure no more than three zoombies got past my character, and often had to make sure a certain number of healthy animals did.

Levels started out simply, with unchallenging monkeys. These zombified creatures move forward steadily in a straight line. If they catch up with a healthy animal, they can bite and infect them. It only takes one hit with a standard weapon, like the hatchet, to defeat them. However, other zoombies require different tactics. The next to appear was the elephant, which requires two hits from most weapons, unless they’re hit with a machine gun. Penguins followed. They are invincible when they slide on their exposed guts, and are only vulnerable for the moment it takes them to stuff them back inside themselves. Only the Murder of Crows weapon can hit a sliding penguin. Turtles hide inside their shells, making them impervious to all weapons except falcons. Rhinos can only be hit from the side, as their horns protect their front. The kangaroo is probably most deadly, however, as the first hit only takes out the mother. After she’s down, the joey hops out like an alien chestburster and moves at a faster pace down the field.

Fortunately, there are power-ups that make fighting zoombies easier. After creatures are defeated, they drop coins. These can be put towards better, different weapons, sub-weapons and power-ups. For example, I liked having the speedy weapon, speedy weapon return and bear trap Especiales equipped. Every time the bear trap icon refilled, I could place one on one of the five row spaces. If a zoombie touched the bear trap, it would immediately eliminate them. It offered a nice line of defense in case I was overwhelmed. There is also the Guacamole Dip, which slows down zoombies that walk across it, making it easier to take out more zoombies with one weapon toss.

zoombies animales de la muerte
As for score, there are two ways to earn tons of points. The first is to keep a continuous stream of attacks going. This builds up a combo, which boosts your points. My personal best at the event was a 58 hit combo. The other is to complete sugar skull objectives. Each level has five extra goals beyond survival. Achieving them earns more coins. For example, one goal could be to place six bear traps. Another may be to not let any zombies reach the exit or to get a combo of a certain length. Once a sugar skull objective is met once, it is permanently cleared and subsequent playthroughs can be dedicated to clearing other objectives. There were 225 sugar skulls available in the version of Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte I was playing, though I’m sure that number will increase as the game is updated.

Honestly, I was really impressed with Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte. I always thought the concept was a good idea, but the WiiWare and other console demos I had seen over the years didn’t impress me. The idea lends itself very well to a mobile game. What helped is that it felt a lot more challenging than most iOS or Android games I’ve played. There’s a level of strategy to it, seeing as how most zoombies require a certain tactic to be defeated and the legion is constantly marching closer. I was able to reach level 23 while at the preview event and I definitely enjoyed myself. In fact, I’d love to see Zoombies on my Vita.

Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte will be coming to iTunes for all iOS devices on April 18, 2013. The initial release will feature 45 levels and cost $2.99. The full release will have Game Center support for achievements and leaderboards and will be updated with additional levels and zoombies. An Android version should be available a month later. High Voltage Games is looking into a Steam release as well, as the game is surprisingly built using the Unreal Engine.

Site [High Voltage Games]

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