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World War Z for iOS may not feature Brad Pitt or focus on specific events in the upcoming film adaptation of the bestselling novel, but it does create the ideal environment for drawing you into the apocalyptic world envisioned by author Max Brooks. Unlike most movie tie-ins, World War Z is more than interactive propaganda, and will please both fans eagerly awaiting the film and gamers looking for a solid mobile action shooter.
The game follows the efforts of one father trying to get back together with his son during a sudden zombie outbreak, and involves a mix of exploratory and shooting elements. Each chapter leads you through abandoned buildings, ruined streets, and lush backdrops where you’ll need to explore and solve simple puzzles to open the way forward. With plenty of control schemes to choose from, movement is never an issue. It may seem trifling, but opening filing cabinets, for example, or picking up books rewards you with experience points you can use to purchase weapons and upgrades. You can also play a survival-oriented Challenge mode for high scores and additional points.
As you make your way through each chapter in the game’s Story mode, you’ll encounter moments where you’ll need to defend yourself against incoming zombie hordes with ranged or melee weapons. You can’t move during combat, but you’ll need to aim your gun to shoot down zombies as they approach you. Shooting your gun is never problematic, but attacking with melee weapons isn’t as responsive as you’d want, and can be frustrating when you’re forced to restart an entire level after one badly timed swipe. Some levels can take a while to complete, so the lack of checkpoints plus the fact that zombies come at you at random moments make melee combat rather aggravating.
Not only does the game feature visuals and lighting effects that look amazing on your device’s Retina display, but you’ll also be treated to voiced cut-scenes that draw you deeper into World War Z's gorgeous but bleak world.
The bottom line. World War Z is an entertaining film-inspired game, even if its combat system could use some polish.
iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 4.0 or later
Lush environments and visuals. Seamless touch-based exploratory controls. Engaging story-driven gameplay.
Melee controls lack polish. No checkpoints. Enemies load randomly and sometimes too often in the same area.