Zombie Estate 2 Review
Blast From the Past
First, a disclosure. Try as hard as I might, I couldn’t find anyone to play online with in Zombie Estate 2. I initially searched for people by setting up my own match and waiting for a good five to ten minutes, to no avail. Following that, I headed to the lobby browser to see if there were any games I could jump into, but nothing came up.
I’m not sure whether this is a problem with the game’s netcode, a total lack of an online community, or an issue with my own internet connection, but the latter seems unlikely seeing as I’ve never experienced such radio silence before.
Either way, I managed to force a friend to come and play with me in good old fashioned couch co-op mode, but it’s worth stressing that my review isn’t able to cover Zombie Estate 2’s online functionality at the time of writing.
Anyhoo, if you haven’t heard of Zombie Estate 2, it quickly became one of the Xbox 360’s most popular indie titles after it released back in 2010, and the newly launched Steam version includes a bunch of new add-ons and content bonuses to justify its retail price point.
As a zombie wave game, it’s re-releasing in a market where such a concept isn’t quite as original as it once was seven years ago, but it’s the little things where Zombie Estate 2 manages to work as an amusing and highly replayable isometric shooter.
For a start, there are over 100 weapons (all upgradeable), 30 different characters (each with their own stats and pithily written bios), 30 wearable hats (which can alter those aforementioned stats), tons of enemy types, and six maps to fight them on.
You’ll never be short for something new to try out in Zombie Estate 2, and the progression at which you can unlock different items motivates you to keep playing to reach those higher rounds. This diversity complements the clear focus on co-operative gameplay too, as each player can express themselves differently through their choices for weapons, characters and so on.
Speaking of gameplay, Zombie Estate 2’s simple controls make for an accessible experience that’s easy to pick up and hard to put down. Every weapon, from a standard pistol to the apocalyptic Nuke Gun (trust me, it’s worth saving up for), feels fun and enjoyable to use, and each is suited to specific approaches to combat.
It is here where Zombie Estate 2 displays a surprising air of strategy; as making it through the more difficult waves requires more than just button mashing. The fast and varied zombies aren’t afraid to flank you, while the healthy mix of open and closed sections which together make up the meat and bones of each map requires players to stay on their toes and demonstrate a keen sense of spatial awareness at all times.
It’s crazy to think that even pixel art has evolved and advanced drastically over the last seven years, but I would be lying if I said that Zombie Estate 2 – at least aesthetically – hasn’t aged all that well.
“I can totally see why Zombie Estate 2 is something of a cult classic”
The chirpy art style still exudes character and charm, but the low-grade visuals give the impression of a flash game, as opposed to an update PC port of an indie console title. It’s not a huge problem in the grand scheme of things, however, and the game runs as smoothly as melted butter, even when the zombies take over every inch of the screen.
I never played the original Zombie Estate nor its sequel when it first came out on the Xbox 360, but I can totally see why it’s something of a cult classic.
The game’s simple but effective design makes for an addictive and effortlessly enjoyable romp, especially when played with friends, while the sheer amount of ‘stuff’ to experiment with energizes it with a lasting appeal that fully warrants the going price tag on Steam.