Atom Zombie Smasher is a top indie game created by the company Blendo Games, released on March 14, 2011. Just when you thought you were getting tired of zombie games, you get to play it again, in an RTS format.
The world has been overrun by zombies, again. Big surprise. Instead of the frequent scenario of happily mowing down zombies in a first-person view, it is a real-time strategy game where you are evacuating a city bit by bit through elaborate rescue operations. Helicopter rescue zones can be marked on the city, that will attract civilians nearby and evacuate them in chunks of up to 30 people out of the zombie infestation.
To help evacuate the civilians, various squads are deployed each round to help slow the zombies that will approach, attempting to thwart the escape. Roadblocks can be used to block the movement of zombies (and humans) from roads that may lead to your rescue zone. Anti-infected landmines, dynamite, and artillery are all used to eliminate approaching zombies and to help escort the humans to the escape chopper. Placing sniper and assault rifle squads at tactical choke points means the difference between a successful mission or a failed mishap.
This game is hard. Extremely difficult. Every time you successfully save the specified minimum number of civilians from a sector, clearing it, three or four more even deadlier areas on the world map become infested. Each sector can have an “infected” rating between 1-4, ranking how heavily infested the area is. Level 1 is minor, and if well-executed it is possible to destroy all the zombies. If this is done, all civilians are automatically saved and you gain control of the sector. Levels 2-3 are more difficult and where additional zombies will spawn at a time, and level 4 has no remaining human life to save and the only option is to cleanse the entire area of zombie scum with sufficient firepower or the sector will continually spread zombies to nearby areas.
Winning the game involves beating the computer (infected) to the specified threshold of points first. Points are awarded at the end of each mission, given based on the number of sectors on the world map you have captured. As the computer is able to infect multiple sectors at a time while you can only attempt to clear one at a time, it seems unfair.
The game has a novelty to it and is fun for an hour or two. But the scenarios are always pretty much the same although with subtle differences as the random map generator does its work defining streets and alleys. This lets the game become boring pretty quickly. Your choice of weapons/units that you can deploy may be different, but the goal is the same for every level: evacuate as many civilians as you can from the sector while batting zombies off along the way.
The graphics are nice yet seem a little lazily done. Vibrant, colorful effects are nice yet the civilians, zombies, and even your own soldiers are represented by bright yellow, pink and green squares, flashing and slowly sinking across the screen as they go, hence the name Atom Zombie Smasher. Aside from some simple, appropriate sound effects, the music dispersed throughout the game could have used some work to captivate the audience more.
Conclusion: Atom Zombie Smasher boasts a fun unique zombie game where speed and efficiency with what you have are crucial, although sound and graphics could use work.