You know what you're getting with Zombies & Trains HD.' Zombies and
trains, with graphics enhanced for the iPad.' Yep, it's all right there in
the title.' OK, now stick with me for this next part.' The game takes
place in a stadium that vaguely resembles the Roman Coliseum.' The dirt
floor of the stadium is crisscrossed by four train tracks that form a
tic-tac-toe like grid, and at the center of the grid lies a golden brain trophy.'
Zombies, some of whom sport classic gladiator sportswear, enter the stadium and
begin to make their way towards the sweet, sweet brain trophy.' Your job is
to prevent them from reaching that trophy, and that's where the trains come in.'
Tap on one of the train tracks and a speeding train with a plow strapped to the
front will come flying down that track, turning any zombies in its way into a
spray of zombie goo.' Sounds like the odds are stacked against the zombies,
so what's the catch?'
First of all, there are a lot of zombies and they come in a variety of
shapes, sizes, and speeds.' Picking the right moment to summon a train to
maximize the zombie slaughter is part strategy, part art, and part luck.'
Also, once a train leaves the stadium there's a short delay before you can call
for a train to come into the stadium on the same track.' You also need to
be careful not to call two trains on intersecting tracks too close to each other
or you could wind up with a train wreck, and train wrecks mean that some zombies
will survive and that you'll have to wait longer before you can call another
train on those tracks.
Luckily for you, you have more than just trains in your
arsenal.' Power-ups periodically appear that will allow you to do things
like destroy every zombie on the screen or, my personal favorite, leave a trail
of flames in your trains' wakes to fry zombies even after the trains have left
Zombies & Trains HD has four game modes.' Arcade Mode (The
Main Event) plays out exactly as I've described the game so far, with play
ending when a zombie makes it to the center of the stadium and claims the
trophy.' You're scored on your performance - number of zombies killed,
combos from multiple zombies killed with a single train, etc. - and you can
compare your scores to others' on Game Center or unlock the game's numerous
achievements, or just simply try to beat your top kill total and score.'
Wave Mode is similar to Arcade Mode, except the zombies come out in separate
waves instead of an ever increasing flood.' Crossing Mode is a timed mode
in which you must survive for one minute and try to get the highest score
possible while doing so.' This mode uses a different track layout than the
previous two modes, and features just two tracks that run parallel to each other
horizontally across the screen and that places the brain trophy at the bottom of
the screen.' A minute may not sound like a long time, but this mode is more
challenging than it may at first appear to be.' Lastly, there's Slaughter
Mode.' Slaughter Mode is another timed mode and features three horizontal
tracks but no trophy.' The goal here is to maximize your score in a one
minute round by killing as many zombies as possible.' It's not just a
matter of tapping on the tracks as fast as possible because you'll need to time
your trains to maximize your kill combos.'
The game rewards your progress with coins that can be used in the in-game
store to purchase power-ups and bonuses for your next game.' Some of these
are one-time use items while others are permanent upgrades with three different
levels.' You can, of course, buy coins with cash through in-app purchases,
but I'm happy to say that it's easy enough for you to afford the upgrades with a
reasonable amount of play.
Zombies & Trains HD is a relatively simple game and
doesn't lend itself to extended play sessions, but that's not necessarily a
knock against the game.' It's an enjoyable game built on a simple and
unique premise that you'll find yourself coming back to play again and again,
not unlike a classic arcade game like Centipede or Asteroids.' And like
those games, you'll need to develop some good techniques to maximize your score.'
If you're the type that can enjoy a good arcade game and doesn't mind the
wholesale slaughter of zombie mobs, I recommend that you give it a try.
Final Rating: 80%