Allow me to introduce you to my favorite mobile game. No, it’s not Angry Birds, Words with Friends, or Draw Something. My absolute favorite game—with all of its faults and brilliant moments—is Glu Mobile’s SAMURAI vs ZOMBIES. The game has been out for some time now, but for those of you unfamiliar, SvZ is an action-packed side scrolling take on the tower defense concept. Just this week we welcomed a massive update, now allowing you to choose your side. Previously, the only play option was fighting left to right as a samurai defender. Now, you can fight right to left as an undead samurai attacker, with all new powers and characters.
In SvZ, you control a samurai, protector of the Sacred Gate. You move from left to right, slaying zombies as you go. The zombies spew out of—as far as I can tell—Hell itself, which happens to be located a few seconds’ jog from the Sacred Gate. Whatever happened to location, location, location? But I digress. Controls are simple: tap and hold in the direction you wish to move, tap and release to use various powers or summon allies, your character will auto-attack any zombies in range with first his bow and arrow, and then his sword.
The strengths of this game are its creativity and artistry. The backgrounds, character designs, and even the menus are all very easy on the eyes. As far as creativity goes, I’ve seen a lot of zombie stuff—I may possibly own The Zombie Survival Guide…maybe—and this is one of the very few zombie-themed products out there to succeed in making me chuckle. This is just a very tongue in cheek way of looking at a Zombie war.
Based on gameplay and art alone, this game deserves a top spot in anyone’s game library. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks that we should discuss. My biggest annoyance just got ramped up with the latest update. Playing as the zombies is certainly fun, but advancing even through the first ten levels is proving extremely difficult without buying in-game currency to level up yourself, your minions, and your abilities.
In the original—or “Classic,” as the game puts it—mode, if you were determined and patient enough, you could level up enough to succeed just by picking up items that drop in-game. Even with a decent bankroll from beating the Classic levels—and replaying some as well—so far I have yet to find a way to beat the first 10 levels without spending real money. That said, the game IS free, so I can’t complain too much. In the previous version there were crash issues, but thankfully those problems seem to have been fixed with the latest update. So far, I’ve had no problems with the updated game.
Overall, it’s fantastic play, especially for a free game. Tips and tricks? Wait as long as you can to spend in-game currency on upgrades—the upgrades unlocked even a dozen levels in are light years better than the first ones available to you, at least for my playing style. Overall grade: B+.