The standard-bearer for zombie wave shooters on Xbox Live Indie Games has long been “I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1”, a game that was notable for not only for igniting a genre but for having a hilariously self-aware theme song.
“Undead Empire” picks up the ball and runs with it. It adds both offline and online co-op for up to four players, making this feel like a cross between “I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1” and classic 2D “Gauntlet”. The characters aren’t all reskinned versions of the same things, they have unique loadouts and customisation options. You have a pistol that never runs out of ammo, but the real deal is in customising your more powerful weapon options to your liking, and picking up both regular and elemental power so that you can keep using them.
The story mode is actually pretty good, with you working not just to survive but to track down and deal with the madman who set these events in motion, and really adds to the game. There are online scoreboards for those curious about how they compare to other players, and there’s a survival mode that’ll be more familiar to those who’ve played story-less, wave-shooters like “I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1”. But I think the story mode, the co-op play, and the ability to play with different weapons selections elevates this game and justifies its 80 Microsoft Points price-tag, even if you have another game or two like this already.
Here’s what the developer (BigRook) has to say about the game:
“The invasion is coming, and you won’t survive on your own! Undead Empire is the first ONLINE 4-player top-down zombie shooter. Up to 4 players can join up to blast away at a seemingly unending swarm of zombies with a taste for human flesh. This co-op twin-stick action survival-horror shooter also includes a robust story mode, a brutal survival mode, and online scoreboards to see how you stack up!”