Burn Zombie Burn

April 16, 2009

Geometry Wars + Left 4 Dead = Burn Zombie Burn! Really. You are a 50s era greaser armed with a pistol. Depending on the game mode it is your mission to last as long as possible against the zombie hoard, last until time runs out against the zombie hoard, or protect your girlfriend Daisy from the zombie hoard while she sits terrified in a convertible with the top down (I know it’s not smart, but I didn’t pick her). The fun comes from striking a balance between settings zombies on fire and ending their unlives with your trusty pistol or whatever random weapon you picked up from the grass.

You start any game type with two weapons – a pistol and a torch. Other weapons like shotguns, uzis, chainsaws, and lawnmowers can be picked up and used until they are out of ammo or fuel, but the torch is a constant and you can always go back to the pistol (this is handy if you picked up a lawnmower right before a load of explosive zombies spawned).

Burn Zombie Burn! is played from a top-down perspective like Geometry Wars, is score driven like Geometry Wars, and allows the player to increase the score multiplier like Geometry Wars. In order to get a high score you’ll need a high multiplier. In order to get a high multiplier you’ll need to set zombies on fire. So far this seems easy. The catch is that non-flaming zombies shamble around and only attack if you’re in range like you’d expect of the undead. Flaming zombies are faster, inflict more damage, and are pissed enough at you to follow you around the map. BZB differs from Geometry Wars in one other key way – it is not a dual stick shooter. The left stick moves your character, but you either aim in the direction you’re moving or lock on to the nearest enemy.

At first Burn Zombie Burn! seems exceedingly difficult. You’ll set too many zombies on fire and lose all your lives or you’ll survive as long as possible without setting any on fire and fall short of attaining even a bronze medal for the level. Give the game another chance, though, and you’ll start to see the balance that must exist between setting zombies on fire and shooting them in the head. You’ll end up lighting up the entire hoard just to throw some TNT at them, wipe them out, and do it all over again. And once you get the hang of it, Burn Zombie Burn! reveals itself as a wonderfully designed arcade game that recaptures the arcade mantra of “just one more round” better than any other in recent memory.

Pros: you get to light zombies on fire, rewarding skill-based gameplay 

Cons: is maddeningly difficult until you get it 

Plays like: Geometry Wars 

ESRB: M for blood and gore, violence


Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.