Zombie Slayer Diox, on paper, sounds like a hell of a lot of fun: a portable title for the Nintendo 3DS that casts you as a headbanging hunter of the hungry dead that lures his postmortem prey in with shredding guitar riffs before dicing their decaying bodies into a morbidly melodic mess.
Of course, a lot of things sound good on paper…like communism…and trickle-down economics. And we all know how well those turned out.
Players guide the Nordic-looking Diox (the X is silent, according to one of the game's tunes) as he wipes the zombie scourge from the planet with the one-two punch of a guitar and sword. This is achieved through a simplified Guitar Hero style control scheme, which has you dispatching zombies with a few swipes as they pass through a column in front of Diox. The controls are horrifically picky, causing for missed notes if the player's angling is not exact…no small feat given the game's rapid-fire pacing. The control problems are further compounded in the higher difficulty levels, which require you to hold down a certain "color" mapped to the D-pad (which, last time I checked, is woefully monochromatic) as you swipe, which only makes things more difficult, not in a challenging way, but in a fuck-this-game-I'm throwing-my-3DS-against-the-wall way.
Adding another layer of decay to the already rotten game is the presentation. The graphics are decently drawn in a cartoony sort of fashion, but if you love your eyes you'll keep the 3DS' 3D slider down to the bottom. With the 3D turned on, there's an inexplicable depth-of-field effect that makes things pop that really shouldn't, making you go cross-eyed and making it even more difficult to track the tiny notes floating over the zombies' heads. The music is really not much better, comprised of a series of stunningly generic rock tunes, rendered in the most hideous flavor of MIDI imaginable, that are forgotten as soon as you complete the level. If your music game has bad music, you're doing something horribly, horribly wrong.
The saddest part is that this isn't developer UFO Interactive's first trip to the rhythm-action-zombie well. They previously did the mediocre (but still oddly amusing in small doses) Rock of the Dead, which at least used a mixture of White Zombie tunes and classical-metal mashups to keep players amused. Unfortunately, Zombie Hunter Diox doesn't even have this novelty, making it fail on virtually all levels. I may be hungry for more horror titles for the 3DS, but I ain't that hungry.
Zombie Slayer Diox is available on the Nintendo 3DS eShop for $5.99