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Zombinis Hands-on Preview

Sara Lau
Mar 12,2012  02:03 by

Eastside Games just launched its new social game Zombinis as an exclusive title for Google+. It is something unusual and ambitious for Google+, because Eastside may attempt to create a clone of Nintendo’s signature titles, monster-collecting-and-training oriented Pokemon series. In Zombinis, players create and train an army of undead companions with which they would do battle and complete missions. The story line is nothing new, and you must save Zombiniland from the evil and misguided Kroton Army. So, lead your zombified legion into battle and liberate your country which has fallen under the hands of invaders.

As in Pokemon-themed RPG series, players will be asked to choose one starter monster from the 3 available themes based on the rock-paper-scissor system. But Zombinis doesn’t have a completely linear plotline. Based on my experiences thus far in this game, it only has 2 modes: an arcade-mode-like single-player campaign, in which you fight continuously to unlock new stages and gradually proceed to face off more difficult enemies, plus a PVP mode. Battles in Zombinis are fully featured with exaggerated cartoony style and I was always kept entertained with those hilarious-looking zombinis. The combat is turn-based, but it is quite different from the original ones, in which both sides take turn alternately to perform actions. In each turn, both sides roll a set of dices, the side who wins a roll will deal damage to the opponent, who will lose at least 1HP and a piece of body part. Generally, whoever has the dice with the biggest number wins the turn, so the person with more dices will have the better chance of winning a battle. Theme, rarity and level are key factors that determine the number of dice both side will have when going into a battle. For example, if your zombini’s theme is stronger than your opponent’s, you get one extra dice. You may also be able to use “brain” attack to summon friendly zombinis for assist, “brain” attack temporarily boosts dice number in single turn. This is the only strategic combat system that can add some value to the way the game is played, so that the player who plays a weaker zombinis also has the chance to turn the battle into his/her favor. Besides, rolling a double can double the damage you do to your enemy in a single hit and also you are given some coin bonus. The battle is over once your zombinis or your opponent’s zombinis is out-of-body parts.

You also need to repair your zombinis after a battle, because the more intact your zombini, the more hits it can withstand in combat. You can pay z-buck, the game’s premium currency, for an immediate repair; or alternatively, let them regenerate their missing body parts over a period of time.

Each time you successfully beat a stage in arcade mode, chances are that you may get additional reward of a new zombini body part. Collecting all the 4 body pieces can unlock the corresponding zombini. However, managing to collect all the body pieces from a set is really a pesky and repetitive task. Stages in arcade mode are pre-scripted and the difficulty curve goes steep as it progresses, so you may find yourself get stuck with a certain stage, where you are unfavorably matched. So the trick is to quit arcade mode and go into PvP battle, in which you will be fairly matched with a random player who is around the same level as yours. You’d better prepare for arcade mode as much as you can by leveling your zombini up in PvP battles or acquiring rare zombinis.

Overall, Zombinis has a nice art style, seeing your foe dismantled piece by piece is fun. Unfortunately, apart from this, there isn’t anything here which can impress me the slightest a bit. You rely mostly on luck in wining the battle, because the dice decides everything.

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