Zombies!!! back from the dead on Windows Phone, without Xbox features

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!!! for Windows Phone

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

Zombies!!! for Windows Phone

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 (opens in new tab)

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Why did MS "chose to not allow them to update to Windows Phone 8"?????
  • Probably there were some legal technicalities that prevented them.
  • No, that's not it. Read the article we linked to about the games getting pulled.
  • Why is Xbox Live achievements dying and taken out of games? It's very sad they did it with Asphalt 8. :(
  • #SaveXboxWP. Head to Twitter and tell Microsoft that Xbox on Windows Phone is important. Tweet and retweet #SaveXboxWP!
  • I'm not Tony Stark. But I don't think XBox integration within apps is in Microsoft's hands. They did their job..they made the feature possible and support it on their devices. But it's really upto developpers whether or not to use them.
  • Actually, the developers don't have a say in this. Unless they're EA/Gameloft/Big pubishers. To get Xbox LIVE inetgration, developers can't self publish, they have to go through a big publisher (not many publishers are interested in WP) or go through Microsoft Studios, which have recently been busy delisting existing Xbox-enabled games rather than publishing new ones. So trust me when I say this from experience: developers would love to use Xbox LIVE features, but MS makes it extremely difficult.
  • Have they not removed that publisher requirement? So sad that they do not exploit the achievement features.... Bizarre.
  • It's immensely expensive too. Something like $30,000 per release, including patches. So if your game goes from 1.0 to 1.5 hey that's an extra $30k out of your pocket. That might be fine for a AAA title, but that's a big risk to small developers who may be lucky to earn that money back in a year, let alone pay their salary. MS dropped the patch re-certification fees a few months ago, so it is better, but I think they still have a long way to go.
  • Xbox on WP is only starting to hinder Games on WP8
  • MS just want to tempt you over to xbox machines if you want achievements...
  • XBOX!!!! Heads to the grave on windows phone, subsequently sales of WP's fall 60%
  • I doubt Xbox games for Windows Phone has any major impact on sales either way. It's a nice feature but I don't really care all that much about it.
  • I don't think it'll drive people away necessarily, but Xbox gaming is the #1 reason I got a Windows Phone in the first place. If Xbox gaming leaves, I won't, but if it had left before I arrived, I might never have.
  • Same here.
  • You may not care about it but literally everyone person I know with a Windows phone achievements were the deciding factor.  If you don't care about achievements I can't even fathom why you would get a Windows phone but that's a whole different conversation.  Many more people care about it than you think.
  • We have different experiences then, I have yet to meet anyone that has put any major value towards the Xbox gaming features. It has always been the design and hardware (Lumia cameras) and the uniform look of the UI and apps. Personally, I fell in love with the UI and how the OS operated. Especially how well optimized it was compared to Android (didn't care for iPhone pre-iOS7) at the time, even with mediocre specifications. It was touted as a big thing at the launch of WP7 and again (but slightly less so) with WP8, but I find it hard to believe that Xbox gaming on Windows Phone is that much of a seller anymore, as not even Microsoft or Nokia seem to be trying to push it on to consumers, as opposed to integrated Office or SkyDrive. We both have anectdotal evidence at best and I do think it would be stupid to let it fade away if they still are planning to unify the three platforms, but I also do not think it would be a killing blow to Windows Phone in any way.
  • Wow. Haha. Just, wow.
  • I really really like games with achievements. It makes it more fun. The integration with xbox games and achievements helped me to decide to go with WP. And I'm not that much of a gamer. I just like that. 
  • R.I.P WP-Xbox!!
    I hope MS will provide at least a service like game center on iOS!
  • MSFT need to update their Xbox game for WP policy to allow them more freely.
  • Not available in Brazil but has a Brazilian certificate. :S
  • "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)"
    I doubt that Microsoft "told" them they aren't allowed to update it to WP8, my guess is that Barbaroga chose to pull it rather than update it due to the time required to get it recertified!! I refuse to pay for it again though just because it was delisted and had the Xbox features removed. 
  • Well, I've spoken with the developer about it (literally, on the phone) and the article is correct.
  • I'm NOT saying Xbox achievements aren't great or they aren't good for marketing WP, but honestly I don't think its worth it at this time for games to have it because of the process to publish and update them it takes to long and until WP can play actual Xbox games like halo like it was rumored that they were testing I don't think it should be taken so seriously right now
  • WP doesn't need to be able to play Halo for Xbox live and achievements to be taken seriously. Games like Spartan Assault show you can get the Halo universe on WP without compromise. And games like Asphalt 7 show you can have real-time multiplayer; the problem is Microsoft's Xbox division's unwillingness to support WP and the draconian certification requirements which have actually been lifted from the 360 & Xbox One. The current woeful state of Xbox gaming on WP is solely down to Microsoft as a company not giving two hoots about WP, and that's the truth. And as for this game, no Xbox, no sale.
  • And Now I have to rebuy it??? Seriously???
  • If all the WP 7 games keep transitioning to indie games for WP 8, then this phone can suck my white ass! Xbox enabled game was THE sole reason I got one to begin with. All the waiting for custom ringtones, quality apps, & custom message tones (which most WP still don't have), is setting me up to switch formats with my next phone. Fuck you Microsoft, you self conscious greedy assholes! Give up on Xbox enabled games, might as well give up on a mobile phone period!! You're the sole company without a handheld system. Well here it is & you're taking a hearty crap on it anymore.....
  • Plus the 'Having to rebuy the game Again, just to be robbed of your Real achievements! Fuck That!
  • I think you mean suck your black ass
  • Nah, it's a white ass.
  • Let them hear it on Twitter: #SaveXboxWP. The more who tweet and retweet, the more likely they'll listen.
  • So many missed chances...everyone should care about Xbox on Windows Phone, it is so important for the whole ecosystem.
    Paul man, keep pushing!
  • With you, buddy!
  • I'm more annoyed about the fact that the game doesn't have asynchronous play. Won't buy it until then.
  • It's not unexpected that all of this is happening with the insane restrictions and hoops MS makes people jump through to get a branded game on any of their platforms but still it's sad to see.  I really want to stick with Windows phone but unless something drastic changes in regards to branded games I will definitely be going back to Android when I buy my next phone.  I could go through a never ending list of things other phones do better, faster, and cheaper but I got a Windows phone because of achievements.  Without them I'm jumping ship in a heartbeat.
  • Yep me too, if it keeps going like this, I'd rather get an android phone next time. Sorry Microsoft.
  • I will be right behind you mate. Firstly they send xboxone in multimedia direction, now it seems WP games are changing.. Roll on Friday 29th.
  • Same! It's my next choice if Microsoft don't pull their heads out of their asses.
  • Hey widows phone central how about contacting Microsoft on behalf of WP and wpc users and ask the Xbox division why the lack of support ??? And what wp achievement lovers should expect going forward ?
  • Paul does a great job, he is very aware of this problem.
    Only Microsoft is responsible for this and their communication is not good...
  • Thanks man. Nicely said.
  • I love Microsoft but they won't talk about things like this. Closest we got is a video interview earlier this year in which an MS executive disagreed that Xbox features are a selling point for WP.
  • So it will finally have multiplayer ?
  • That's actually possible now but I doubt it will happen unless the indie version sells a bunch.
  • It seems that Xbox is going to be pulled away from WP. It might not catch consumer's attention... Who knows...
  • Windows Phone is a Microsoft platform, as is Xbox. Both of them, particularly the former, are in need of growth. It is Microsoft's job to facilitate this growth and they are not doing it. Changes need to be made and @Microsoft need to know about our opinions. We're discussing the problem at this thread: http://forums.wpcentral.com/gamers-lounge/249754-2.htm#post2234403. Now head to Twitter and help support Windows Phone: #SaveXboxWP
  • I feel that I should get it free since I bought it and the upgrade.
  • If this isn't fixed by MS Ina serious way, next November when I am looking for a new phone WP8/9 whatever probably won't be on my list. I like WP but I came here for achievements. I can get more and better games on the other guys systems and they both now have Xbox like features for most all games now.
  • This is a damn good game. I had it on my Lumia 800 but have recently changed to a Lumia 920....meaning I'd have to buy it again :(