Splicing together two instantly recognisable gaming IPs – the fiendishly addictive Facebook hit Farmville and PopCap’s seminal Plants vs Zombies – sees The Playforge hit pay dirt with their latest, Zombie Farm. Or at least it would if it weren’t for the fact this brilliantly entertaining blend of agricultural management and tongue-in-cheek undead warfare is freely available from the App Store!
Making admirable use of the much-maligned freemium model, Zombie Farm gives players the option to splurge on a range of in app purchases, but is perfectly playable, not to mention incredibly enjoyable, without ever spending a cent.
At the outset of the game you’re given a small plot of land to tend. Cue some fun Farmville-esque gameplay, which sees you sowing seeds, growing crops, and converting the fruits of your labor into hard cash that can be spent on new equipment and other upgrades. For better or worse, this side of things unfolds in real time.
So far, so familiar… but Playforge do put an interesting spin on this tried-and-tested approach to farming simulation by allowing you to plant corpses and grow a legion of zombies. Once you’ve amassed a small army of unfeasably adorable undead, you can engage in the hostile takeover of neighbouring farms.
These madcap battle sequences switch from the pseudo top-down viewpoint of the rest of Zombie Farm, adopting a 2d perspective, and play out similarly to a castle defense type game.
Not only do these segments add a extra dimension to the game and offer a fun distraction, but they also provide a good opportunity to earn more gold and brains.
Beyond the core gameplay, Zombie Farm’s lasting appeal is considerably bolstered by well implemented Facebook interconnectivity (zombies are named after your friends when linked up!) and Game Center support (quests to complete, unlockable achievements and so forth).
Overall, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Zombie Farm; but it’s likely it wont be to every-one’s taste: the real time aspect can be a turn-off (quite literally), while the fact that the title blatantly borrows from other popular games – both stylistically and in terms of mechanics – could be a bone of contention for some. That said, it’s free, so why not give Zombie Farm a whirl? You just might fall for its charms.
iFanzine Verdict: One of the deepest and most thoroughly engrossing freebies we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. What Zombie Farm lacks in originality it more than makes up for by putting a humorous spin on the farm sim and offering hours of fun for absolutely zilch. If not a must-have, a definite must-try.