Atom Zombie Smasher – An Indie Game Review

Atom Zombie Smasher – An Indie Game Review
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Platforms:

Windows PC, Mac, Steam

Game Name:

Atom Zombie Smasher

Publisher(s):

Blendo Games

Developer(s):

Blendo Games

Genre(s):

Strategy

Release Date:

Mar 14, 2011

Developer Summary:

Take command of your mercenary forces in Atom Zombie Smasher. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and it’s up to you to evacuate everyone before they fall prey to the undead.

Conduct massive rescue operations with a helping hand from snipers, artillery crews, orbital bombardments, and more. Experience the tactical richness of fully-destructible environments and procedurally-generated campaigns. And when the apocalypse ends, create your own game mods and share them with the Online File Share.

What We Think:

From the mind behind the well-loved indie space sim Flotilla, comes a fresh take on the increasingly tiresome zombie apocalypse genre, although a lot of the bite is taken out in the process.

You take on the role of commanding of a rag-tag military force attempting to rescue civilians in the midst of a zombie infestation. Don’t think you’re in for bullets, brains and bloodshed though. Instead, you control the action from the cold eye of an overhead radar map.

Atom Zombie Smasher move infantry screenshot

That isn’t to say there isn’t something scary in seeing the yellow dots of healthy humans quickly become purple dot zombies and join the swarm searching for fresh meat. You must use all the tools at your disposal to successfully evac as many people as you can, before there’s no one one left alive.

The entire presentation displays the move away from horror, to a more light hearted and sanitized affair. The stories between missions are mildly entertaining and the, initially charming, surf music may grate on you after a while.

Gameplay in Atom Zombie Smasher can best be described as tactical strategy with the strategy neutered. You would think a commander would be able to send whichever assets he chooses into a conflict, but sadly that isn’t the case here.

Atom Zombie Smasher research lab map screenshot

Randomizing which components are available for a level leaves some of them almost impossible to complete. I suppose this was one of the only ways to make levels seem different and challenging. Otherwise, this game is very repetitive. Deploy assets, start mission, recover enough civilians before they’re swarmed, rinse, repeat.

There is something appealing here, but it just seems to be incomplete. I get the sense that Blendo had a great idea and ran with it, then realized halfway through the process that he didn’t know how to complete it. It’s like Frankenstein assembled enough parts to prove that he could reanimate human tissue but couldn’t be bothered to find the remaining parts to finish his monster. There needs be another layer of gameplay and a better deployment system to make Atom Zombie Smasher truly engaging.

In short bursts, Atom Zombie Smasher can definitely be fun. It can just as easily be frustrating. The art, sound and story are good, but don’t seem to come together and elevate the core gameplay. If this was a free Flash game I’d certainly bookmark it and play it in moments of boredom, but pay for the privilege? I don’t know.

Visit the Official Atom Zombie Smasher Site

Get Atom Zombie Smasher on Steam

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Patrick Bartholomew

Patrick is a freelance multimedia developer specializing in Flash development and animation. He has been programming and making games as a hobby since the age of 7 and has been an avid pen and paper role-player for at least as long.

2 thoughts on “Atom Zombie Smasher – An Indie Game Review

    1. Was that added in a patch? I swear I looked everywhere for the option … and I think one of the mods was designed to allow it … and I’m pretty sure it’s a complaint I heard repeatedly from other reviewers.
      I’m not sure adding troop choice is a good thing though, unless they’ve added other variations to the game. Otherwise, a fairly repetitive game becomes incredibly repetitive.

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