After criticisms coming in from the gaming community over Insane Zombie Carnage‘s similarity with Vlambeer’s Super Crate Box(SBC), last year’s surprise hit, developer Playberries has offered a cure to the invading horde of SBC fans by making Insane Zombie Carnage free. Much of the disapproval of this game has been towards Playberries seemingly cashing-in by simply copying SBC. So how much of a clone is this game?
First of all, I had to download SBC just to do a comparison – I’ve always wanted to take a look at SBC but haven’t had the time. Thanks to this review I’ve finally done it. Maybe that’s the advantage of clone games – it allows you to review two games in one. Alright to the point, Insane Zombie Carnage is almost a blatant rip-off of SBC. Apart from a few differences, everything else from the gameplay to the level design and right down to most of the weapons is identical.
Players have to dodge and shoot zombies that spawn at the top of the screen and head towards the fire pit at the bottom whereupon they become more powerful when they respawn. Collecting crate boxes unlocks new weapons and levels – there’s only three so far, same as SBC. Sound familiar? Well, the concept of SBC combining platforming with the endless nature and intensity of defend your base games isn’t taken to a new level here.
What Insane Zombie Carnage does add is having mystery boxes that can help or hinder players by doing everything from clearing the screen of zombies to making zombies move faster. It’s a nice touch, and you’ll hope that the developer came up with more features like this to separate itself from SBC. The rest of the changes are more cosmetic. The graphics are better, there’s a soft mode that gives you three lives instead of one. There’s a local co-op mode to play with a friend as well. Playberries promises more new things to come and when they do they’ll turn this back to being paid. We’ll have to see what they come up with then.
The following applies to Super Crate Box as well – see here’s where the two for one part comes in! Insane Zombie Carnage can be addictive but in a negative, frustrating way. You constantly die and there are more useless weapons than there are useful ones. It’s deceptively simple and seems to pit you against your gamer pride. “Come on, It can’t be that difficult to collect ten crate boxes!!”. But it is that difficult. Sure the gameplay is intense, but it’s just too much when you keep dying while you’re just one crate box away from unlocking the next level. Maybe I do suck at games requiring fast reflexes, but this game doesn’t do anything at all to ease you into the intensity of it.
The game is also unbalanced. It just throws too much against you. Depending on the type of weapon you have, zombies may take several hits to kill while it only takes one hit for you to die. Each weapon has its own quirks to use, for example the bazooka has area damage but it takes too long to reload, making you a sitting duck for the onrushing zombies. There’s nothing like a ‘super weapon’, which you can overwhelm the zombies with and have no disadvantages to using it. You do move faster than the zombies, but only slightly.
Insane Zombie Carnage has an XBLIG version as well although really you’re better off downloading Super Crate Box. Apart from the mystery boxes and slightly better graphics, Super Crate Box is just superior in every other way. Better controls and a much smoother gameplay experience overall. It will be interesting to see what new concepts the developer might bring in the future though.
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