Marines. Zombies. The two have become commonplace in video games as of late, and Action Mobile Game’s 2013: Infected Wars brings the two of them together like peanut butter and undead jelly. With so many games featuring zombies and marines, how, then, have the developers managed to keep things feeling fresh?

Al-Qaeda has released a virus upon the world, turning a majority of the population into shambling zombies. It's up to the player and a team of mercenaries to scrounge for supplies and provide protection for the remaining living citizens. The minute-by-minute gameplay is, quite frankly, dull and repetitive. You'll enter a room and plug bullets into every zombie you see until you don't see any more. Then you'll move on. The zombies themselves display no sort of tactics, nor does there seem to be any variation between them outside of their running speed. More varied enemy types do appear later on, but you still have to slog through a lot of boring cannon fodder to get to the more interesting stuff.

Outside of the surprisingly decent boss fights, most levels are the exact same thing: you'll walk backwards, you'll shoot, and you'll reload. If you die, you have to restart the entire level. The inclusion of power-ups, such as armor and ammo refills, scattered around the level harken back to classic shooters like Doom or Goldeneye.

Before each level you're given the choice of playing one of four different classes, but they all play relatively the same. There are only a couple of bonuses that go along with each class. You earn money to spend on guns and upgrades, but again, the gunplay and zombies are so generic it's unlikely you'd feel motivated to do the grind necessary to kit yourself out. You can also play the entire campaign thru multiplayer, either with random online players or with your friends, which is an impressive first for an iOS shooter.

Touch devices don't handle first/third-person shooters very well in general, as the nimble little screens tend to make your targeting crosshairs too jittery to use, and that's the case here. If your foes weren't so utterly brain-dead, this might be more of a problem. As it stands, all you have to do is vaguely target them and plug bullets into their center mass until they fall over. So, the controls are functional, featuring the added bonus of being able to adjust the sensitivity to fit a player’s need, but it's still not the greatest. Same goes with the graphics. It looks pretty good, crisp and clean, although you're probably not going to be wowed by any of it.

So how, then, do you keep a game about marines and zombies feeling fresh when the two have become so worn out? If you're Action Mobile Games, it's difficult. You make a game that, while not terrible, is kind of pricey for an iOS title ($7) and so very average. The only saving grace is the co-op multiplayer campaign mode. You might be interested in trying it out... if it's really important to you. Just don't expect bells and whistles to go off.


App Store Link: 2013: Infected Wars for iPhone & iPad | By Action Mobile Games | Price: $6.99 | Version: 1.0 | 612 MB | Rating 17 years +

5.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating