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Zombie Wranglers
Zombie Wranglers

Xbox 360
Genre: Arcade Players: 1 to 4
Developer: Sierra Studios
Publisher: Sierra Classification: PG
Zombie Wranglers Review
Review By @ 11:49am 22/05/09
Zombies! They're everywhere! Everywhere in popular culture at least: TV, cinema, books and, of course, videogames. Can Zombie Wranglers be the next Left 4 Dead? The short answer is no, the long answer is braaaaaiiinnnnss.

As many games critics have identified, zombies are the perfect video game enemy, there is no remorse or offence caused in blowing away the shuffling undead, and you don't expect much in the way of artificial intelligence.

Finally the game can be designed as a serious horror survival romp, as per Dawn of the Dead, or as a comedic black humour blast in the style of Shaun of the Dead.

Zombie Wranglers most definitely attempts to fall into the later category, and does an okay job of it.

In either single or top-down-view co-op mode, players take the role of one of four kids charged with clearing their home town of shuffling moaners.

Uju is a classic gamer kid; there is Monica and her ice-bow, music loving Amy and geeky Dean. Each kid is armed with their own brand of projectile weapon, a set of undead stunning fists, and a Zombie Wrangler.

The Wrangler is a fancy name for short ranged zombie vacuum cleaner, and will be your main way of clearing the streets if moaning nasties.

There is also a limited supply of Zombiebombs, once again unique to each kid. These are game savers when surrounded by the brain-loving hoards. Monica's Zombiebomb for example, causes nearby zombies to a take on each other, ignoring Monica in doing so.

Presentation is reminiscent to watching an episode of the Simpsons, or for that matter playing the 2007 Simpsons video game. Colours are vivid, environments predominately flat, as such, power-ups, enemies and characters are easily identified and only rare issues with camera angles cropping up.

This is cartoon violence all the way, with no blood and nary a reference to "braaaiiiins" along the way.

Each chapter is given a modified yet recognisable name. A Hard Days Zombie, Zombies Anatomy, My Fair Zombie, A Fish Called Zombie, and so on, you get the picture.

Each chapter likewise gives players a number of objectives, but there is not a wide diversity of game-play here. The best ones are when you must save the townsfolk under siege upon their cars; the worst are simple treasure hunts.

There is variety, strategy and sometimes challenge in the types of foes the kids face. Zombies come in different incarnations of their former selves, so there are skater zombies, construction zombies, mail-men zombies and more, a veritable and literal Village People variety of themed zombies.

There are large Frankenstein zombies, vans full of soccer ball tossing hooligan zombies and even meter maid zombies to take care of. There are also Gloomex (a sickly green ooze that explains the zombie outbreak) Generators constantly producing enemies to be dealt with as well as a giant cluster of undead rolling around town.

Some have ranged attacks, some cannot be harmed by the kids ranged attacks, some need to have their armour reduced or be stunned before succumbing.

Generally, though, game-play involves running around collecting power-ups, chomping down health, avoiding the annoying – and I mean annoying – squirrels, bats, wasps and other grasping foes until each task is ticked off the chore list.

Though the Wrangler, Zombiebombs and Projectile Weapon get upgrades at the end of some chapters, none of this is under player control. Character customisation therefore is unavailable.

Despite the variety in foes, weapons and power-ups, the game feels a little uninspired. Perhaps we are finally saturated with zombies in the popular culture world. Is it time to find a new villain for video games? Maybe, but, please not Nazi's again, or Zombie Nazi's, now where is my copy of Wolfenstein and NecroVisioN?
What we liked
  • Dumb fun
  • Variety of foes/weapons/power ups
What we didn't like
  • Uninspired game-play
  • Not as funny as the developers thought it would be
  • Delaying game-mechanics too numerous
  • No character customisation
  • Zombie-fatigue
We gave it: