I’ve had an obsession with zombies ever since I saw Night of the Living Dead on TV when I was 5 years old. I’ll pretty much try any zombie game I can get my hands on (Dead Rising being the standard for me). So, when I saw Frontline Zed pop up, my interest was immediately piqued.
Frontline Zed is a zombie, tower defence survival game where you defend your barricade during the night and search buildings by day. The defence part of the game is pretty simple. Zombies approach your barricade and you shoot them until the night is over. If they damage your barricade too much, it breaks and they feast on your brains. You can move your character from side to side with the left joystick and you aim with the right joystick.
Aiming is probably one of my biggest gripes with the game.
I was expecting more of a twin-stick aiming method, where you push the joystick in the direction you want to shoot and then fire with the ZR button. Instead, the right joystick acts as a cursor and you place it on the zombie and fire. It’s got a very clunky feel to it. Also, it seems that no matter if you’re aiming directly at a zombie’s head, it still takes several shots to kill them, despite the tutorial telling you to aim for a headshot for an easy kill.
During the day, you have to manage your time between repairing your barricade and searching buildings. You have 8 hours and each action costs a different amount of time to complete. Repairing your barricade takes 1 hour for every 10 damage repaired. Searching buildings can cost between 2 to 4 hours depending on the building. Searching a building can yield a new weapon, a survivor to fight alongside you, or a single-use item such as a grenade or an explosive barrel. Unfortunately, this all comes down to luck. You could end up finding an awesome weapon or you could end up with zilch. Even worse, you could randomly lose a survivor while searching.
The story is told through diary pages and is nothing more than “search this area for a few days and move on to the next area” as you try to make it to the designated “rescue point.” Graphics seem more or less ported from a mobile platform or something akin to a Flash game that you would play on Newgrounds back in the early 2000s.
The sound design is another big gripe.
The soundtrack is very reminiscent of the generic music you would hear in a typical B-rate zombie/horror flick. The gunshots and reloading sound effects almost sound like they’re being filtered in through a tin can. As far as the growling of the zombies and the grunting of the survivors, they’re… fine. They’re exactly what you would expect. Nothing more, nothing less.
Frontline Zed feels like a mobile game at its core. While that’s not always a bad thing, once you’ve played for about 10-15 minutes, you’ve seen everything this game has to offer. If it was at the most $4.99/£4.99, I could justify grabbing it to waste some time, but at $11.99/£10.79, there are easier to recommend titles on the eShop for less.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 06/08/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Shooter, Action
Developer: Volcanic Games
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Download link: eShop