iPad Game Review: Containment: The Zombie Puzzler
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Containment: The Zombie Puzzler is a clever and original mutant offspring of Match-3 and Zombies that oozes with style, atmosphere, and graphical goodness.
Are you tired of zombie games? Are you tired of match-3 games? Well, here's a match-3 game with zombies! I can see your eyes rolling from here. Please don't stop reading, however. It isn't often that a game comes along that so artfully blends two genres as to create something fresh enough to make it feel completely new. Containment: A Zombie Puzzler is just such a game, and I hope Bootsnake Games sells a million copies of it!
When the game begins, you are confronted with a tightly bunched crowd made up of scientists, cops, soldiers, hooligans, and of course, zombies. To eliminate the zombies, you must completely surround them with any of the above groups (except for the zombies, of course) at which time they are destroyed, causing the crowd to cascade downward. The surround mechanic is achieved by swapping individuals in the crowd, and these folks don't even need to be next to each other. Don't hesitate, however, because the zombies inexorably turn and attack the uninfected, thereby creating another zombie for you to deal with. Successfully surrounding a zombie, or group of zombies, will yield a power-up that is specific to the group you used (zombie-resistant suit, grenade, Molotov cocktail, and sniper shot). You can store up to 3 of these power-ups in slots at the top of the screen, and they are accessed by dragging and dropping. The campaign features a variety of locations, all of which are wonderfully spooky and varied. Additionally, objects in the environment can be manipulated during gameplay. These objects will sometimes help and sometimes hurt, but they are almost always worth the gamble.
There are 2 modes of play: Campaign and survival. The campaign will slowly introduce you to the game mechanics, and winning each screen will advance you to the next, more challenging location. All-in-all, there are over 100 campaign levels, and this mode also features a cut-scene driven story. Survival is just what it sounds like, with stats being provided at the end of each level. Containment also features Game Center leaderboards and achievements.
The graphics of Containment are gorgeous, although this is definitely a word that is not normally associated with the undead. There are glorious lighting effects, and the different types of people are easily identified due to the super-saturated game colors. While you play, the crowd will shuffle and mill around, adding greatly to the game's excellent atmosphere, and whenever you manage to surround a group of zombies, they don't just evaporate; instead, the heroes all turn in unison and destroy the zombies in their own particular way. Containment has an appealing 3D look to it due to its overhead, slightly isometric perspective, and the fact that the cut-scenes were created using the actual game engine really helps to keep you immersed in the story. Oh, and it runs like a scalded dog on my iPad 2.
Containment's music consists mostly of ominous chords, which is just fine for a game like this (I didn't even turn the music off like I usually do). The sound effects are wonderfully creepy, with various growls, groans, grunts, and cries for help. The audio quality for all of this is first-rate, and this game really sounds great with headphones.
Currently Containment offers no in-app purchases of any kind. Buy the game once and get access to everything. Additionally, the developer has recently completed a free update that adds another 10 survival levels, as well as some performance/interface tweaks.
Containment: The Zombie Puzzler is a frighteningly fresh take on the match-3 genre, and even manages to make zombies interesting again. The graphics are excellent as is the sound, but it's the gameplay and attention to detail that puts this game over the top. Highly recommended.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Excellent graphics. From the super-saturated colors to the lighting effects, to the quality of the 3D animation, this game is a beauty to behold.
Sound: - 5 - Atmospheric, moody, and creepy; just what a zombie puzzler needs to be.
Controls: - 5 - Accurate, responsive, and intuitive. Absolutely no complaints.
Gameplay: - 5 - Sure, at its heart it's a matching game; but it's a fresh take on the genre, and tons of fun to play.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Don't take too much time to make your moves as the zombies get hungry fast. Zombies on the edges only need to be surrounded on 3 sides. Diagonals are not utilized so don't waste time trying to fill the corners.
Developer: Bootsnake Games
Release Date: December 8, 2011
Buy App: Containment: The Zombie Puzzler
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