Most zombie games contain lots of gore, quick reflexes to stay alive on your feet, and a truckful of weapons to dispatch of the undead. Now there’s a new zombie game in the App Store that takes a different approach -- survive using your wits. And your wheelchair.
Grandpa and the Zombies - Take care of your brain! is not only the longest title of 2014 so far, it’s also one of the weirdest. Instead of playing as some strapping young buck or dashing heroine, you’re tasked with getting grandpa Willy to the level’s exit without dying. Each level is a single room, and your goal is to reach the room’s elevator. Do this by cleverly maneuvering grandpa past the various obstacles and zombies.
Controls are quite simple. Swipe in the direction you want grandpa to move. That’s it. The only caveat is once you swipe to move him, he will continue to roll in that direction until he hits a wall, obstacle or zombie. Some zombies will kill you, while others, like the wrapped mummy zombies, help you escape the room. There are similar puzzle games out there, but none of them have you controlling an old man who picks his nose.
One of the nice things about Grandpa and the Zombies is there is no time limit, and no set amount of moves. Take your time and figure out how to exit. Each level has three pieces of candy in various locations. You can choose to collect as many pieces as you can, or simply try and reach the exit. The only bad part about going straight for the exit is you need a certain number of candy pieces to unlock the next stage. Each stage has 30 levels, and while you can pay another buck to unlock each one, it’s a lot cheaper (and a lot more challenging) to collect the candy and advance on your wits instead of your wallet.
Besides zombies, you’ll have to contend with puddles, exposed electric holes in the floor and mad scientists who blow up whatever (or whoever), they come into contact with. If you get deep into the game, you may even encounter a vampire or two. The game starts off easy enough, and has a great learning curve thanks to the friendly tutorial, but each room gets progressively tougher as you move on. If you get stuck, you have three available hints that will walk you through the level. Run out and you can always buy more via in-app purchase.
The music is pretty whimsical and unobtrusive. It compliments the game and though it’s repetitive, I never felt like I needed to turn it off. The sound effects are nice, and the graphics looked sharp on my iPhone 5. None of the different stages really stand out from each other, but the puzzles are the star of this title, not the graphics. Play it in spurts though. Long sessions will burn you out pretty quickly.
Grandpa and the Zombies was a nice surprise. I was expecting a generic, half-assed puzzle game, but I had quite a bit of fun playing it. You’ll probably breeze through it pretty quickly, since each room is simply a process of elimination, meaning you’ll learn what you did wrong if you get stuck or die. If you do get stuck, don’t fret. There’s no shame is starting a level over. You can even earn an achievement if you have to restart one more than 10 times (not that I would know *cough cough*). Grandpa and the Zombies is proof that not every walking dead game has to be a bloody experience. Hopefully you’ve got the braaaaaaaains to get grandpa to safety.