Hands-On With Brainsss

iOS gamers have busted up so many zombies in every genre, it’s got to be an ingrained instinct at this point — and also a subject that’s been beaten well into the grave. But what if you were the zombies? Now, there’s something interesting! Using the touchscreen’s penchant for squad-based gameplay, the Lonely Few are about to turn the tables on action and Real-Time Strategy fans who are more used to slaughtering undead mobs than commanding them.

Playing like a mix of casual action and RTS, Brainsss gives the player a few zombies to start off with in increasingly vast environments. The goal is simple: make contact with all humans and convert them to your brain-eating cause! Naturally, the hapless citizens who occupy the libraries, shopping districts and darkened streets aren’t entirely convinced this is in their best interest, so the player has to use level design to his or her advantage, corralling humans into alleys and other tight spaces where they’re easily cornered.

But watch out — soon into the campaign the populace wises up, calling in police and even the army! Armed enemies can easily crash your apocalyptic party, so it’s best to sneak past them and grow your mob until you can swarm hardened targets from multiple directions. Once the zombified crowd reaches a critical mass they’re easily fissioned off into separate teams. Individual zombies are activated as the player swipes over them, and then a tap gives all activated zombies a single point to converge on. Non-active zombies automatically attack people who come within range, letting the player set up effective roadblocks.

The concept is cool in and of itself, but what’s gotten me most excited is how the Lonely Few are handling achievements. Performance stars are awarded for quick completion times and then converted into in-game cash the player can spend on zombie upgrades — bumping up their speed, vitality and effectiveness. Stars picked up in early levels can therefore give the player a leg up later on. If you somehow decide the game is too easy afterward, you can toggle the upgrades on and off individually.

You can bet we’ll have more on Brainsss when it releases in the near future. In the meantime, keep an eye on the game’s website, Twitter feed and Facebook page. Let’s leave you with this gameplay preview: