It’s been a rough year for Xbox games on Windows Phone. Many weeks go by without new releases, and a fair number of developers have jumped ship and switched to indie releases (see Asphalt 8). If we had to name the single worst day for Xbox Windows Phone, it would undoubtedly be September 27 – the day the In-App Purchases died. Yes, on that day (or maybe slightly earlier that week) a whopping 11 games disappeared from the service, never to return… Not with Achievements, anyway.
Since then, Chickens Can’t Fly actually did come back to Windows Phone without its Xbox Live features. And just recently, a second de-listed title has done the same thing: Babaroga’s horror-themed board game Zombies!!!. The game is now on sale once again with its former DLC included automatically, all for $5.99. Read on for more details.
Survival of the fittest
Zombies!!! is a faithful adaptation of the original board game. In the default mode, players take turns placing board tiles that will form the zombie-infested city. Each player must then try to escape with his or her life while simultaneously doing whatever it takes to slow down the other players. They’ll also have to kill their share of the walking dead.
Whenever a player runs into a zombie (controlled by the AI or other players), a battle ensues. Players must roll a four or higher in order to avoid taking damage. Carrying a weapon (which you mostly get from playing weapon cards inside of specific buildings) adds one or more points to your roll, increasing the chance of coming away unscathed. You can also elect to use one of your precious bullets to boost your roll, though ammunition tends to come in scarce quantities. All told, combat provides an enjoyable mix of chance and strategy.
The Windows Phone game supports single-player and 4-person pass-and-play multiplayer. Single-player is more fun than you might expect thanks to the Survival Horror mode, which pits a sole human survivor against the entire city of zombies. Kill them all full of holes (everyone knows they deserve it) or reach the helicopter to win. Winning a Survival Horror game can be quite challenging since so many zombies infest the town (over 100!) and bullets can be spent awfully quickly.
Two for the price of one-ish
The actual board game of Zombies!!! has numerous expansions that add new cards and gameplay mechanics into the mix. Unfortunately, one of those expansions led to the phone game’s de-listing. After buying the base game for $4.99, players had the option to pick up the “Zombies 3.5: Not Dead yet!” expansion for an additional two dollars.
Unfortunately, the original Windows Phone 7 In-App Purchase system for Xbox-enabled games required the use of Microsoft Points instead of actual currency. When Microsoft shifted its Xbox 360 and Xbox Windows Phone economies to regional currency earlier this year, it broke the IAP components of Zombies!!! and other games. Hence the de-listings – see this article for more details.
While Microsoft chose not to allow Babaroga to update the original Windows Phone game to Windows Phone 8 (and the newer OS’s working IAP system), Babaroga did have the ability to self-publish without Xbox features. That’s exactly what they did earlier this month.
The experience of having its game de-listed due to IAPs has left Babaroga a little weary about incorporating IAPs on Windows Phone 8, however. As such, they packed both the game and the “Zombies! 3.5” expansion into a single purchase for the new $5.99 price. It’s a buck more than before, but you actually save a dollar compared to buying both components separately.
Zombies!!! is one of the most interesting board games available on Windows Phone, and we still recommend it – Xbox Achievements or no. Players who crave Achievements can grab the Windows 8 version, which retains its Xbox status.
- Zombies!!! – Windows Phone 7 and 8 – 19 MB – $5.99 – Store Link
- Zombies!!! – Windows 8 and RT – 274 MB – $4.99 – Store Link