Zombie City Defense 2 is an interesting strategy title from indie developer Mozg Labs. You find yourself in a post-apocalyptic future where a virus has escaped from a laboratory and infected most of the earth's population, turning them into mindless zombies. You play the role of Iron Corps, the last organised group that has any sort of chance to eliminate this new threat and save what remains of the human race. This is as far as the story line goes, from here you find yourself in the middle of the action with a license to kill everything that moves, just the way we like it.
Work your way through 16 levels, starting with lowly, mundane units and hold off the endless waves of zombie hordes. As you progress through levels, you earn points which can be spent on upgrades, abilities and new units so you are fully in control of your army composition. The game takes on a real time strategy type mechanic which forces you to claim your base while training the right combination of units to counter your enemies.
Zombie City Defense 2 can be bought on Steam for 9.99$, and below is the release trailer for the game:
Zombie City Defense 2 – Release trailer
Zombie City Defense 2 has some great elements from both real-time strategy as well as tower defence genres. Each map has a different layout which can dramatically change the strategy for each level. You start with a small base, containing at least one building where your general resides. Instead of building additional structures, you instead find these structures around the map and just need to send a unit to inhabit each one in order to utilise it. Some buildings merely contain a few resources which will be picked up by whichever unit is sent in while also providing some added defence from invaders. You also find some buildings like factories, hospitals, and farms that provide you with resources continuously as long as a unit remains inside. Finally, you have production buildings at your disposal which will only give you access to their respective units while the building remains in your possession.
Depending on which structures you inhabit, you should have a wide selection of units to train. Engineers have some combat abilities but are mostly used to inhabit structures and harvest whatever resources they contain. Scouts are fast units that can be sent out to buildings around the map to scavenge for any resource scraps while evading the zombie hordes with sheer speed. Further, you have combat units like infantry, vehicles, and towers, each with their own unique set of stats, abilities, and advantages. All of these work together to protect your most valuable unit, the general, whom if lost, costs you the game.
Obviously, there is not just one type of zombie to fight off but various, each with its own combination of damage, health and speed and some even have special abilities. It's your job to figure out which of your units work the best against each type of enemy, and trust me, with the vast amount of unit types available, this can feel like chainsaw juggling because building too many of one unit might help you out now but will cost you the game in 5 minutes. Something else to keep in mind is the weather. I know, the zombie apocalypse is upon you and you have to pay attention to the weatherman. But when you think about it, extreme heat, cold or humidity would have real world effects and Mozg Labs gave this some thought. Weather conditions could have an effect on soldiers, vehicles, towers, buildings and zombies, and those effects could be both positive or negative.
Graphics and Sound
The game's graphics is understandably toned down but despite this, the game was surprisingly resource-heavy. Structure designs are mostly recognisable so you can distinguish between basic houses, towers, factories and other buildings of importance. Structures have 3 states, blue means it's neutral, and it turns green when you take possession or red when it's infested with zombies. All units, including vehicles and towers, are represented by icons. Their symbols are difficult to distinguish at first but you get the hang of it after a few levels. You see the battlefield through a lens of sorts, giving you the sense that you're staring through a sniper scope. Luckily there's an option to disable this as it makes it difficult to focus on the gameplay. Whenever you select a unit or building, a brief description of said unit or building pops up with the option to expand and reveal all the stats. This pop-up appears just left of the middle of the screen which always seemed to be in the way, especially when the stats are expanded so you generally don't pay too much attention to it, making it difficult to come to grips with new units in the middle of a war.
I wouldn't call the music a soundtrack as much as a combination of eerie sounds designed to keep you on edge. The units come with a variety of voices to respond to your commands and the zombies even growl when you select them. The voice acting is basic with only a limited number of responses, reminiscent of the old Command and Conquer games.
Zombie City Defense 2 is a stripped down RTS game without the tedious job of base building, although it gives you a new task of capturing buildings which might sometimes be found in the most difficult to defend locations. The only real tower defence elements to be found here is the inability to launch an attack.
I was expecting a laid back game that I could play with one eye closed but I was sorely mistaken. I found myself replaying certain missions several times and in some cases lowered the difficulty just so I could move on. The various levels give you alternative objectives which earn you additional points to spend on new units so if you have to play a scenario on an easier level now, you can always replay it later to get accomplish those other missions and earn the extra points.
However, I found that the biggest difficulty in this game wasn't my inability to create a winning strategy but rather some tedious gameplay issues caused by the display. Grouping a bunch of units together makes it nearly impossible to select a specific one which means units with low health tend to die before you can select and heal them. It's also incredibly difficult to see when a unit fires which puts added effort into seeing how effective they are against certain enemies. The HUD and info panel was also a problem for me which made it difficult to follow the important events on screen. Furthermore, although you are taken through a tutorial at the start, I can't help but feel that a bit more could have been added here to get to help you along.
Overall, Zombie City Defense 2 is a good game with some respectable elements that make it good fun. I did find the base gameplay rather difficult which meant I had to replay certain missions which felt tedious as most missions feel very similar anyway. Those who are prepared to put in the effort, however, should find themselves killing countless zombie hordes and having a great time doing it.