Game Review: 'No Zombies Allowed!'


I recently discussed the zombie genre jumping the shark in my review for Zombie Carnaval for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, and how the once-horrifying prospect of the living dead have been reduced to an omnipresent plugin for virtually any game genre.  Got a puzzle game?  Add zombies!  Got a life sim?  Add zombies!  Zombies have become strangely "cutified" with this oversaturation, being reduced to little more than rotting rubes for pretty much any game, and with the right cartoony twist they become toothless, non-threatening foils for an army of in-game avatars.

That was my initial impression of No Zombies Allowed!, a new game for iOS that takes the commerce-building architecture of NimbleBit's digital crack Tiny Tower and flips it on its side for a zombie-tinged take on the tower-building genre that has laid its foundations on the iPhone.  However, the more I played the cartoony No Zombies Allowed!, the more I realized that, in some ways, this is the zombie game that we've all wanted for a very long time.

Fans of Tiny Tower (I'll raise my hand) will certainly fall right into place for this one.  You're in charge of developing a survivor colony, building both housing and businesses for your post-apocalyptic commune.  You build a series of businesses and various homes to attract survivors to populate both, trying to make money to—you guessed it—build more businesses and homes (good to see capitalism survives).  Your goal is to keep building your colony and attracting more survivors as you hold back the undead epidemic that's all but beating your gates to the ground, providing a slew of squishy receptacles for your sniper's bullets.  It's a simple, proven formula that's all but taken the iDevice world by storm (even casual-game juggernaut Zynga has taken a stab at the Tiny Tower design) and it works just as well here.  Different survivors have different specialties, and matching their zombie-appropriate personality types—realist, leader, loner, joker, and warrior—with the right business will net you a profit-boosting bonus.