Game Review: OMG-Zombies (PlayStation Mobile)

As with a number of games that we have reviewed here on Vita Player, this isn’t the first time that we have looked at a game on more than one format. With the PS Vita being Sony’s second handheld console and with the company now supporting three mobile gaming platforms simultaneously (the PSP through PlayStation Minis, the PS Vita and PlayStation Mobile) it’s quite likely that there will be some games that we will end up reviewing a potential three times here on the site. While that may seem like overkill, with some of you opting to buy more than one copy of the game if you have several consoles at your disposal or want to have access to games wherever you are, it means that we need to be as comprehensive as possible.

That being said, it’s fairly pointless for any of us to repeat what others have said when it comes to talking about the game’s basics when they are the same from one version of a game to another when it’s generally a straight port so really Ben’s review of OMG-Z for the Minis pretty much covers the basics of the game itself. But what of the PlayStation Mobile version?

At first glance, the game appears identical apart from the file size which is about 80% larger than the Minis version. Considering that many PS Mobile versions of Minis games are relatively similar to the original games, I was curious to know what the Mobile version was so large in comparison. It hadn’t been changed in any fundamental way and was controlled in exactly the same way – moving a cursor to control everything on screen, to target zombies before trying to blow them away and there’s no use made of the touch screen in any way, not even to navigate the game’s menus. While I’m dead set (sorry, no pun intended) against the touch screen being used just for the sake of it, I was expecting it to be incorporated at least for this unless it’s only used on smartphones / tablets, but I digress.

Options for the game are minimal, providing you with sound settings, statistics for all your kills and other in-game achievements and the option to access the game’s non-interactive tutorials. All of these were present in the Minis version and in fact, the PS Mobile version was a little more sluggish than the Minis version here as the Stats and Tutorials had to be loaded separately while the Minis version accessed these instantly with no delay. This loading time issue extended throughout the entire game. I will be honest and say that it wasn’t a major issue, more a minor irritant, but something that could have been eradicated easily.

For this, possibly an auto-detect to check if the game was running on a PS Vita or smartphone and adapt the game’s loading method accordingly? Many PS Mobile games check to see if they are running on Vita’s and use the d-pad and action buttons for controls automatically so why not the rest of the hardware? 8 and 16-bit games could take advantage of extra RAM, disk drives etc, so surely this couldn’t have been difficult to implement?

Now, onto the game itself and it plays exactly the same as the Minis original and is just as strangely compelling. You wouldn’t expect a strategic zombie massacre game to be so appealing, but for some reason this works incredibly well. Instead of wading into the mindless hordes taking out as many as you can with whatever weapon you have on hand, there’s something strangely satisfying about taking out every remaining zombie on screen with your last bullet, or hoping that you can position your final shot in just the right place to set off that perfect chain reaction…

So the game plays the same, takes longer to load so it makes it an inferior version to the PSP Minis release, right? No. You see, there is one other difference to this version of the game. The visuals. All of the graphics have been completely re-drawn for the PlayStation Mobile version and as a result the game now looks better… MUCH better. Having a game like this in black and white (okay, with added blood) means that the visuals need to be spot on. While it worked reasonably well for the original, it wasn’t always easy to tell each different type of zombie apart but now every zombie is clearly defined, backgrounds are shaper, everything is better animated, and everything just looks a lot more polished, even the title screen. While the difference is relatively minor to start off, the instant you start playing the game, you realise that buying this new update of the game is money well spent.

While Laughing Jackal haven’t added any new levels, weapons or other new features to the game, what they have done is simply made the game better and more playable through the cosmetic upgrade. While normally I am the sort of gamer who says that graphics don’t make a difference, this is one of those cases where a fresh lick of paint can really improve the gaming experience.

Right now, this has become a must-have version of the game. The loading times are forgiveable considering the new look and this is a game that should be an essential buy for gamers looking to add to their zombie slaughtering library.

Simon Plumbe

At A Glance

  • Title: OMG-Zombies
  • Publisher: Laughing Jackal
  • System: PlayStation Mobile
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Local Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 59Mb

 

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