|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: InLight Ent.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ignition Ent.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
March 18, 2008 - Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys from InLight and Ignition Entertainment will take gamers through a wacky world of alien invasion and undead heroes. The game is a tongue-in-cheek platformer that tests gamers' skills while treating them to a funny parody of dated sci-fi/horror films. This is not a typical, gruesome treatment of the genre, but rather a hilarious take that is appropriate for all ages.
From the moment I plugged in the preview cart and flicked on my DS, I was giggling. The presentation of the title is reminiscent of 10¢ comics and 60's era B-movies, as the title would most certainly imply. The opening clip has you turn the DS upright as if it were a comic and introduces you to the main characters and your enemy. The story follows the exploits of three hungry, teenage zombies in their quest to fill their bellies. The Earth has been overrun by a horde of floating brain thingys bent on complete domination. Little does the Big Brain know that the recently unearthed zombie heroes would like nothing more than to snack on the tasty "Brainmeats" of the alien invaders.
Gameplay centers on utilizing the unique skills of each of the zombie characters. Finnigan "Fins" Magee looks a bit like an octopus with his back of writhing tentacles. He can climb up walls and across cables with his suction cups, and can even vomit acid when he eats spicy food. Zack "Half-Pipe" Boyd has just his upper torso left, but it doesn't stop him from zooming around on his skateboard. He packs a lethal stretch-kick with his trucks and bearings, and is short enough to fit into tight places. Lori "Lefty" Lopez uses her height and gangly left arm to stretch up high and pull herself up to places the others can't reach.
Typically you will use the D-pad and buttons during play, but you can employ the stylus in order to switch between the three characters. You will have to constantly change out the characters in order to get around the various obstacles in your path. This gameplay mechanic is reminiscent of the fantastic Lost Vikings title for the Sega Genesis, SNES, and PC (it eventually came out for the GBA too!) My only worry is that the system of non-stop character changing tends to get cumbersome after a while. However, there are a bunch of power-ups and hopefully this will translate into a wide array of unique and goofy powers that will keep things fresh.
As the story unfolds, you'll be able to open up a bunch of comic-like cutscenes that are very funny and well done. The game is rife with witty comments and funny interactions. The humor is safe for children, but it is clever enough to keep adults and teens happy. The interplay between Big Brain and his minions is especially good. In addition to the laughs, you will also be able to open up a collection of mini-games. These games can be played as many times as you want and will be stored on the menu screen. They include stylus-driven games as well as brain puzzles called The Big Brain Challenge. The touch screen mini-games will number at least seven and include simple diversions such as a Dig-Dug-like tunneling challenge and a half-pipe brain smasher. The Big Brain Challenge is an irreverent poke at the brain games that have run roughshod on the DS. These brain teasers have five unlockable levels of difficulty ranging from Baby Brain to Royal Brain, and they are quite fun.
The game looks to be shaping up quite nicely. The presentation is great, and the platform style, puzzles, mini-games, and interesting characters should appeal to most players. Hopefully the specialized nature of the main characters won't grow tiresome because the story has a lot to offer. Thankfully, we will soon find out as Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys will release on April 15, 2008. So instead of heading straight over to the post office to drop off your taxes, you might want to stop at the game shop first and pick up the title in order to have something to do while you wait for your envelopes to be post-marked.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director