There’s no police department in Halloween town, so when zombie birds swoop in to steal your pumpkids you’ll have to take matters into your own hands and Shoot the Zombirds (Out Now, $0.99)! If you’re looking for a very simple shooter this could become your next guilty pleasure, but those in search of depth will find Zombirds just another of the App Store’s briefly entertaining casual curiosities.
Planted at screen center, your pumpkin avatar draws his bow and aims according to your swipes. If you aim well, letting go of the touchscreen will loose an arrow that skewers one or more of the ghastly birds racing overhead. Landing a hit on easily missed skulls grants some in-game cash that can be splurged on upgrades, but it’s important to focus on zombirds that are trying to make away with the little pumpkids. Let too many escape and it’s Game Over. The game offers one essentially endless level, with wave numbers cluing you in to rising difficulty.
That would be pretty much all there is to say about Zombirds if not for a few truly interesting quirks. First is the very limited ammo supply and how it interacts with Zombirds’ combo system. As long as you bring down one zombird you’ll get the expended arrow back; hit two or three in one shot and you’ll get bonus ammo. Combo hits rely on a strong physics system, which allows arc firing and heavier birds to take lighter ones with them on the way down. Upgrades are pretty predictable – more starting ammo, a greater pumpkid allowance, consumable special attacks – and are geared toward the interests of players who want to stay in the game longer for a chance at the leaderboard.
It may be simple casual fare at heart, but Zombirds has “slick execution” written all over it thanks to gorgeous vector sprites and a responsive menu system. The one hiccup you’re liable to experience on a smaller iDevice is accidental firing when your finger slips off the edge of the touchscreen — I’d love to see the pumpkin bowman’s position raised a little in updates.
iFanzine Verdict: A very simple shooter that stands out from the wider milieu of casual iOS games only for its extremely well polished presentation and a few interesting gameplay quirks. Best enjoyed by fans of endless high score frenzies who don’t need much depth.