It can become overwhelming, the sheer amount of zombie themed video games nowadays that march onward thirsty for your cash. The PS Vita is not short of a few itself. Age of Zombies, Plants Vs Zombies, Zombie Racers and Zombie Tycoon all choose different genres to expand the zombie theme and show us that zombies aren’t just one trick ponies!
OMG-Z, which is developed by Laughing Jackal Games and is available as a PS Minis title for the PS3, PSP ansd PS Vita, also takes a slightly different path from the regular zombie shooters that we are all used to now. Yes it is primarily a shooter, but one that also adds in a little strategy and skill to make this stand out from the crowd. That can only be a good thing. The game starts with the City of Redfield (Resident Evil reference?) being overrun with zombies. No one knows how or why. An elite team of police officers are sent to deal with the threat and after a run-in with some zombies, you are all that’s left of the team and you are faced with the prospect of taking down the horde on your own!
The game is a single player only affair and tasks you with clearing arenas of zombies one at a time. These arenas are based throughout the city and take in locations such as back alleys, cinemas, stadiums and airbases. Within these arenas you will encounter many different types of zombie (as if the bog standard wasn’t bad enough!). You can encounter exploding zombies, Cop zombies, Acid Zombies and Soldier zombies. Each zombie dies in a slightly different way when hit and can help you clear crowded areas of zombies. For instance; exploding zombies, when killed, can take out an area of zombies around them. While acid zombies leave a pool of acid behind that can kill other zombies and spread around the arena. Using this knowledge helps immensely as you only have very limited ammo per arena. Oh… did I not mention that earlier? Ah… yes… you do not have infinite ammo to just blast away your foes – you start off with just 3 bullets. Plus another thing I forgot to mention earlier was the fact that your character cannot move from his starting position. Now before I turn you all off from this game I must mention that you do control the target that your character aims at the zombies and this whole system focuses more on strategy and how you use what you have got effectively and efficiently.
Your end of level score is determined by how many zombies you are able to clear from the arena. You can obtain any of four trophies ranging from bronze through to platinum (not trophies in the PlayStation Network sense, just within the game itself – Ed) and each trophy also comes with money which can be spent in the upgrade shop. The upgrade shop is, unlike some games, essential to you progression through the game and you will be using it at every opportunity to upgrade you ammo capacity, damage and other benefits.
The overall style of the game is monochrome, which is again very different from the norm and is reminiscent of old zombie film classics like Night of the Living Dead. The soundtrack is very subtle, with much of the noise made by the zombies themselves! The controls are very simple even for a Minis title! You control your aiming reticule with either analogue stick or the D-pad and you fire with the X button. You are able to use the L and R shoulder buttons to see zombies health or what type of zombie they are, using a colour coded scheme.
Through my own playthrough I struggled to accept the early limitations the game puts on you in the first few levels and I really struggled to get any enjoyment out of the game the further you go. However, once I had started actually using my accumulated in-game wealth on upgrades, it all started to make sense and fun started to creep its way in. Suddenly the game became addictive as I strived to earn enough money for the next upgrade and to replay older levels for that little extra cash.
In summary then, OMG-Z is a different type of shooter that has a good layer of strategy and of course our favourite cannon fodder… Zombies! And with a combination like that why wouldn’t I recommend this title? I cannot think of any reason at all.
At A Glance
- Title: OMG-Z
- Publisher: Laughing Jackal
- System: PSP Mini
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 32Mb