Day 428: Head Shot Z

Posted: 2012/01/12 in Indie Games

I decided to give a chance to a game, from the frequently (and usually fairly) maligned Silver Dollar Games. It has zombies in it. It couldn’t possibly be any good, could it? There are times when you must give credit where credit is due, and “Head Shot Z” is good.

Silver Dollar Games has released dozens of titles. So many that they’ve had to purchase at least three XNA Creators Club accounts just to keep releasing them (as each developer has a limit on how many Xbox Live Indie Games they may publish per account). That list of games has tonnes of absolutely terrible shovelware, but it has a few good titles hidden here and there. “Blow”, one of the best in the indie games channel, “Mirror” which I enjoyed, and the recently-reviewed “RAID”. Head Shot Z should be added to that list.

Why? Well, the game features a post-apocalyptic world suffering a zombie outbreak. You pan back and forth with your sniper scope looking for zombies hidden in the crowd scenes. When you find one you zoom in to take it out from the safe distance you’re firing from. Fail to take out enough of the zombie outbreak, and the remnants of the government will nuke the town to stem the infection. Succeed and you can move on. The zombies will occasionally attack survivors, but a lot of the time they try to hide in plain sight. Each level you have to eliminate a given number of infected, and have a certain amount of allowable collateral damage; each survivor you accidentally shoot, or each victim of a zombie bite, reduces that number.

The game contains a hard mode that’s unlockable after beating 20 levels, so there’s a fair amount of play value here. The later levels get really challenging, with obstacles that periodically block your lines of sight and multiple rooms/platforms to monitor. The level graphics are actually pretty varied, which is welcome touch. The game may get a bit repetitive for some far into the game, but you’ve long since got your “silver dollar” of fun out of it by then.

One of the things I like about the game was how much some of the zombies look like the ghouls from the classic ’80s B-movie “They Live”, and it helped to imagine that I could only see the zombies by wearing the right pair of sunglasses before looking into the sniper scope. And in case you think I’m kidding, I’m not: I really am that much of a geek.

Here’s what the developer (Silver Dollar Games 3) has to say about the game:

“Soldier, you’re the only thing standing between these people and a nuclear bomb. If you don’t contain this outbreak, we’ll have no choice but to destroy the city. Shoot these zombies in the head!”

  1. Jon Flook says:

    People like putting bullets in people’s heads… for some reason.

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