Atom Zombie Smasher

The Fog of Zombie

Brandon Chung

This is one of the best games I've played since maybe Minecraft. I was like, way into it. Oh wait, for a minute I thought I was writing for Game Informer.

This game put me in the mindset of Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the JFK and Johnson administrations. We burned to death 100,000 civilians in a night, men, women and children, but at least they aren't 100,000 zombies! There's also kitschy 60s music in the soundtrack, it really goes for a 60s aesthetic, which is a nice compliment to the kitschy 50s aesthetic that the Fallout series pioneered. After all, there is no nuclear war in this scenario, only Llama bombs, Zombies, and panicked civillians.

The gameplay is pristine, everything is reduced to dots. Yellow dots for civvies, blue dots for scientists, purple dots fo da zombies. A canny glow effect is used when groups are bunched up together and freaking out. You send in a helicopter to pick them up, it takes almost 10 seconds each round-trip plus a fraction of a second to load each person. The world is also simplified, into a randomized jig-saw of territories that zombies can spread through. Board-game-esque number mechanics are used, so that every turn a <1> will drop, then two such tokens, then three, then a <2>, two 2s, three 2s. They start stacking, a <4> is a full-blown epidemic where no life remains, and thus spreads to nearby territories. Turn-by-turn you fully capture or simply blight a single territory, while the zombies flock to greater and greater numbers. Performance in each minutes long rescue mission gives victory points, as do territories capture, and the first side to x-thousand points wins. Pretty good, high replay value, I give it 8/10, no wait, 27/33.

Like in DEFCON, a very differently themed and designed game set in a similar "period", this game invites you with strategy into a mad-house of game theoretic genocide. That's why I felt like McNamara, though I don't get as sentimental about it. Boohoo, I'm responsible for mass murder, cry me a fucking river would you please? I remember seeing a crowd, a massed crowd, scientist among them, must have been 50 or 60 people crowded in the intersection, hopeful the helicopter would pick them up, and a few straggling zombies were stumbling close. I watched, I watched, as the outside of the crowd was bitten, and the crowd died in a bloody vomit of transformation. I did not hestitate. I said to myself "I don't like that they're all going to die, but those zombies will be there in seconds and I'm going to blow up the whole crowd".

You know what book was good? World War Z. There, I said it. What? It was really clever. This game is the closest you're going to get to living that experience and if you have any personal affiliation with the fantasy of how the military-industrial complex would respond to a zombie pandemic, you must buy this thing.

Atom Zombie Smasher is a 2011 IGF Finalist in the Excellence in Design category.


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link to website

Would you please be sure to give a link to game's website as well as a direct link to the download? Thanks.

Nice one

Nice one

I agree with unHandyAndy.

I agree with unHandyAndy. Kind of weird to have links to demos but not to the game... I'm sure that's just an oversight though, right?