Zombo Buster Rising – Review
Follow Genre: Tower defense game
Developer: FIREBEAST, Funtonic Limited
Publisher: Chilidog Interactive
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Zombo Buster Rising – Review

Site Score
3.8
Good: We didn't encounter any glitches during our time with the game
Bad: Practically non-existent soundscape
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

It’s often difficult to keep up with the sheer amount of horror-themed video games that are released around Halloween. This means that sometimes, we don’t get round to looking at a seasonally appropriate release until some time after the day itself has passed. This was the case with Chili Dog Interactive’s Zombo Buster Rising, which actually debuted a week before Halloween. Fortunately, zombies are appropriate to make an appearance in video games year-round. Is it worth calling the Zombo Busters to extend the Halloween feeling or is this a release that is better off rotting underground?

Story

The game’s opening cutscene gets straight to the point and explains how Medan, the City of Darkness, was hit by a mysterious disease. The disease was unleashed by “a mysterious guy” and causes the inhabitants of the city to turn into zombies. Fortunately, the city happens to be prepared for this exact situation as they have a dedicated, trained zombie fighting team at their disposal. Called the Zombo Busters, this team of trained experts sets out to secure and rescue survivors after receiving a distress signal. This is the entirety of Zombo Buster Rising’s premise, which serves as nothing more than a poorly written explanation of the on-screen happenings. While we should acknowledge that at least some effort was put into fleshing out the game’s setting, the paper-thin premise is almost insultingly shallow. We would’ve probably preferred it had the game simply been presented without a backstory, instead of having an antagonist literally named “a mysterious guy”.

Graphics

With its bright colors, big button interface, and copy/pasted enemy designs, it’s quite clear that Zombo Buster Rising was originally a mobile game that was ported to PC and consoles. The game’s visuals are decent enough on a small screen, such as that of the Switch in handheld mode, but in all honesty, it’s not very aesthetically pleasing on a large screen. The enemy designs are fine, albeit incredibly simplistic. The game’s backdrop never changes either, making for a game that lacks visual variety as much as it lacks gameplay variety.

Sound

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Zombo Buster Rising features one of the worst soundscapes we’ve ever heard. There is no music present at all. The only things you’ll hear are the grunts of the zombie hordes and the sounds of gunshots and explosions. Of course, this is a game that would’ve been played with the sound off most of the time on mobile, but this is unforgivable for a PC or console release.

Gameplay

Given Zombo Buster Rising’s mobile roots, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Chili Dog Interactive is providing us with a very casual take on the tower defense genre. Taking control of the titular Zombo Busters, your task is to deal with the hordes of zombies that are slowly moving across the screen. The game doesn’t bring anything new to the table, so if you’ve ever played a tower defense game based around fending off waves of enemies, you already know exactly what you’re getting here. You’ll need to shoot oncoming zombies, earning gold coins for every kill, which you can then spend on new equipment that aids you in fending off more zombies. Any zombies that make it across the screen and into your base deduct health, and once your health reaches zero, it’s game over.

Depending on how well you do in each level, you’ll be awarded diamonds, which can be spent on upgrading your AI allies. The aim is of course to earn three diamonds on every level, which is easier said than done. More often than not, you’ll be returning to previous levels with your new and better gear to do so. As you progress, levels get progressively more challenging, of course, with a wider variety of zombies gradually being introduced, including fast-moving zombie dogs, zombies with air horns that can summon more zombies, and aerial balloon zombies. These add some much-needed variety to the game and prevent it from becoming too repetitive, but overall the game simply doesn’t do enough to keep you motivated to keep playing for long periods of time. It doesn’t help that Zombo Buster Rising lacks any form of challenge, possibly because it’s so easy to access all the weapons and upgrades.

This is what makes Zombo Buster Rising’s release on PC and consoles so baffling in the first place. It’s fine as a time-waster on your phone, but there simply isn’t enough meat on the game’s bones to warrant a full-fledged release on console, simply because you’ll be bored with it after ten minutes or so. Adding insult to injury, there’s only roughly two hours’ worth of content here in the first place and that’s assuming you’re a completionist. So, if you’re absolutely determined to give this game a try, we were going to suggest not shelling out full price for a port but instead relying on the mobile version. Of course, that’s assuming you still have the free-to-play version, called Zombo Line, on your phone, or if you can track down the APK file, as it was removed from the Google Play store. This was probably done because Chili Dog Interactive didn’t want to have a paid version of their product competing against a free alternative. It’s definitely not worth the current asking price of €4.99 given that there are far better titles out there in the same price range. To the game’s credit, it’s very polished and we didn’t run into any issues while playing it, but that’s probably more due to the fact that it’s so shallow and simplistic, rather than because a lot of effort was put into ensuring the game runs as smoothly as possible.

Conclusion

With its bland gameplay and lack of depth, Zombo Buster Rising is a game that you probably shouldn’t spend your cash on. The seemingly low price and colorful visuals may entice you, but there simply isn’t enough here to sink your teeth into to justify spending the €4.99 the game charges. It’s a functional game, but not a fun one.

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SebastiaanRaats


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