Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys! Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

So Simple A Zombie Could Play It

Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys is a very simple action-platform game. The game’s overall style is comic-book inspired, and as you play it is easy to feel like you are lost in the pages of a comic book. However, one of the main problems with this title is that it tries too hard through linear gameplay and simplistic levels to be more like a playable comic book and less like a full game.

Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys! screenshot

The game opens with giant-brained aliens taking over the human race. Essentially they wipe us all out and only leave a couple left as slaves. However, there was something on this planet that the aliens did not anticipate: zombies. And as any zombie aficionado will tell you, there is one thing that these sub human creatures love: brains! So where does this leave our big brained aliens? In a lot of hot water. Not only are they losing ground in their fight to take over the earth, but now they are being eaten as well!

The basic gameplay is exactly what you might expect from a puzzle-platform type of game. You play as three different teenage zombies: Lefty, Fins, and Halfpipe. Each of these characters has special powers that you will need to use to get through the puzzle-centric levels. Lefty is able to jump high distances and dislocate her wrist to grab ledges. Fins is able to climb walls via some zombie-riffic tentacles and is also able to scale down wires that run across stages. The third zombie, Halfpipe, is a skateboarder who has no lower body, and instead rolls around on his trusty skateboard. Each of these characters also has a roster of special powers that you will have to find in your environment to enhance your zombies pre-existing abilities.

Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys! screenshot

Levels in this game requires you to look for environmental cues to decide which zombie and which special powers you will need to solve puzzles or play mini-games to move forward. The overall setup of the game is pretty good, but most of the puzzle elements of the gameplay are just a little too obvious. When you start playing the game, you expect things to be fairly simple and then become more difficult as you play. But the gameplay in Teenage Zombies never really evolves into something more challenging than grabbing a nearby power-up or throwing a switch.

Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys! screenshot

Another issue I had with this title was the length of the gameplay. The main mode is only about seven stages long, which translates to about five or six hours of gameplay. The length of the game feels entirely too short, even for a handheld title. There are other modes beside the main story mode, but these modes entail mini-games you have already encountered in the game, and honestly, none of the games are really good enough to warrant a replay

Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys! screenshot

Graphics in this game are fairly good and go along with the comic book feel of the game. Levels are strictly linear, and characters and environments are all in 2D. Character animations look really good and are very fluid. However, the levels themselves are very static and really detract from the animation quality.

Controls in this game use the touch screen to select both your zombie and power-up. You use the d-pad to move around and the face buttons to attack, use special powers, and power-up. The controls are very easy to use, and although it sounds difficult to control three characters simultaneously, the controls here feel very fluid and make it very easy.

Sound in Teenage Zombies is average. The stage music is okay, but some of the voice sound effects are a little too repetitive. One thing that is fairly good, however, is the voice acting during the comic book scenes. Not all the comic book scenes have voice over, but the ones that do greatly benefit from it.

Overall, I think Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys has a great concept but suffers from being too simplistic overall. If there was a little more attention given to making the game longer, and perhaps a little more challenging, this would have been a worthwhile title. But as it stands, this title just ranks about average.

Character animations are quite fluid, but static environments detract from the overall look of the game. 4.3 Control
Controls are easy to pick up, and make switching between different characters feel natural. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is pretty good, but some of the voice effects are a little repetitive. Voice acting during comic-book scenes, however, is very good. 3.0

Play Value
Story mode is way too short, and replayable mini-games are not memorable enough to warrant picking back up.

3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Read the in-game comics with a one of a kind “book view” – hold the DS vertically and then turn pages by opening and closing the cover.
  • Unique platforming gameplay that requires swapping between characters to complete levels.
  • Seven distinct and challenging worlds, including the final battle on the Big Brain’s mother ship.
  • Sub-level intermissions featuring stylus-based mini-games to earn bonus points.

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