Hands-On With Zombie Panic in Wonderland Plus

Akaoni Studio are putting the last finishing touches on their iOS debut, Zombie Panic in Wonderland Plus! The Valencia-based developer kindly shared a dollop of zombie-blasting goodness with us as we await the game’s Christmas season release. You can find more background info on this zany gallery shooter in our First Look and interview with Akaoni, but in sum, it’s fairytales plus zombies, plus machine guns! What’s not to love?

Akaoni has opted for the free-to-try model with Plus, offering the game as a free download with In-App Purchase to access all content once the player finishes its intro stage. What we’ve been able to play so far has made it clear that the gallery shooter – think classics like Cabal and Wild Guns – fundamentally works on iOS. One of the genre’s typical quirks is the inseparability of character and target reticle movement, but that’s resolved here by peeling those actions into separate controls: tilting the iDevice shifts the player character left or right, and the shooting spree commences wherever the player holds and drags around on the touchscreen. Double tapping an enemy looses a grenade that blows it to smithereens if the player has any remaining; a quick swipe left or right sends the player character into a cool somersault dodge. A big part of the fun here is fitting short bursts of gunfire into all the flitting around the character does in the player’s hands, and boy, does it help that everything feels silky smooth and intuitive!

Multiplayer and a hard difficulty mode appear to be missing in action for now, but in most other respects Plus can be counted on to retain the experience of the WiiWare version — fully destructible environments and all! A linear story mode, Arcade mode with level and character select menus, and Survival mode appear intact, and we can now say with some confidence that Akaoni’s first Plus screenshot is set in one of two new levels: “The Hatter’s Garden” and “Forest of Wonderland.” Purposeful tweaks include a progress counter that’s easier on the eyes, a 3D world map in Arcade mode, and probably some enemy remixing judging from the beta build we had access to.

We can’t wait to find the full version of Plus stuffed into our Christmas stockings, but if you’re a shoot ’em up fan you can join us in tiding yourself over with Akaoni’s latest dev blog entries. Don’t forget to check out Akaoni’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account as well! We’ll bring you updated footage in an iFriday Roundup when it’s available, but for now you can scope out the first iOS footage here, and a release trailer for the original WiiWare edition below: