ARZombi is, as the title would suggest, an augmented reality zombie survival game in the vein of COD zombies as you try to survive the zombie apocalypse from the comfort of your living room.
Available on iOS 11, all you need to get going is a compatible device, a living room of a decent size (5m x 5m is what was suggested to me from the developers) and a pair of shin pads.
Ok, the latter is more of a BTG recommendation! Or of course you could ensure living room floor is clear of kids toys before playing. They say that the biggest threat of people in a crisis comes from themselves – I am now a proud contributor to the legitimacy of that saying!
Once the application loads up you will be asked to setup the game area boundary by pointing the phone at the floor. Next you will be asked to assign a door and windows to the game. It is through these that the walking dead will shamble forth into your personal space!
I will note here that I had visions of simply highlighting for the game where my doors and windows were, however you must have one entry point on all four sides of the room, so for example, in my game I had a window placed where (in reality) stands a solid wall. I don’t know how the software works so perhaps this is a step to far for the fledgling technology, and I nit-pick a little, it had minimal impact on my immersion in the game.
Oddly enough, in a similar vein, a random table and TV are placed on screen which are completely game generated.
With that out of the way, I had a blast with what followed. Perhaps the novelty value would wear off eventually, but for £0.99 the couple of hours I spent running from each wall in the living room shooting at the fictional invaders, as my wife looked on in bemusement was money well spent.
I think it needs to be said, at point of publishing this review, she still hasn’t thanked me for saving her from being a meal for the horde!
The graphics look good against the backdrop of your own home, although playing in good light is essential to get the most out of your experience, and each zombie model is gruesomely detailed. Not that you will be looking at them for long of course, as survival is paramount you will spend most of your time hammering the screen to dispatch them with the variety of weapons and upgrades available from the shop using the in-game currency. There are some COD-Zombie nostalgic animations as you hammer the screen to rebuild your door and window boarding thrown in for good measure to.
The shooting feels fun, but not quite as polished as the games aesthetics. The iPhone 7 I used to play was light in my hand, and it didn’t help matters that the sound effects are pretty ‘tinny’ for want of a better adjective; overall both these variables made the shooting feel exactly like what it was, tapping the screen. The weapon recoil is a nice touch, but the zombies don’t flinch or stagger to show you have hit them and with no visual wounds or health bar it’s easy to go a bit gung-ho and waste your precious ammunition on a zombie who was on its way down. That said, the melee is pretty fun to, but that really should be your last course of action.
Until you get used to the experience each game will be over quickly, the difficulty in ‘ARZombi’ is unforgiving to say the least! Choose a big room or your games will struggle to last a minute, to this end, if I could make a recommendation for future feature I would recommend that a 2-entry point level be set up for smaller rooms; it would allow for an easier to work with 180 degree perspective, not to mention the infamous ‘chokepoint’ setup would be great to.
As would be some grenades for those more hectic moments!
Overall, for £0.99 you get a decent opportunity for a couple of hours laugh with (or at) your mates taking it in turns to survive the horde with all the novelty AR games provide.
New to AR? Remember the news coverage of people playing Pokémon Go? Imagine, similar premise but the Pokémon’s come to you, and then try to eat your face.