There's not a very big difference between the words "love" and "loathe". I mean, sure, they're complete opposites, but they sound very similar. N.Y. Zombies 2 is a game that tiptoes the very fine line between enraptured exultation and a hailstorm of expletives. Did it fulfill my Z-Day dreams or was it nightmare of epic proportions?

Zombies, zombies, zombies. What is it with our fascination with zombies? Whether it's an allegory for society's shortcomings or just a good old-fashioned gorefest, the undead have infected the media and won fans of all persuasions. Zombies are perhaps best enjoyed through the magic of video games where fans can feel even more invested in the drama and action of a zed-pocalypse thanks to the interactivity that comes with the medium.

There are plenty of examples of good zombie games for iOS, so developers who want to create their own undead adventures can see easily what works and what doesn't. That's why it was so frustrating for me to see a game that just fails to get it right. N.Y. Zombies 2 is even worse because it's a sequel. This means that they had the chance to craft a better experience but unfortunately failed in almost every category.

Upon loading the game, I was impressed with the visuals and how smoothly and stylishly the menus were animated. I had high hopes for the graphics in the rest of the game, but was then sorely disappointed when I started the first mission and was attacked by my first, shambling zombie. The designs for the brain-eaters were gory and creepy enough, but even though they were taking steps, they seemed to just float forward like a puck in air hockey. And there was this weird, hazy fog on the screen that hampered down on my visibility, making me easier bait for the mobile corpses. If only I could maneuver around them as easily as they could magnetically float towards me

The absolute biggest gripe I have with N.Y. Zombies 2 is with the controls. Moving around and firing your weapons while trying to escape rapidly can be an exercise in patience. No matter how far you move the virtual thumbstick forward from its center, your character will "run" at the speed of a drunken sloth. The shooting mechanics are wonky at best and self-destructive at worst.

Tapping to shoot was a horrible idea, especially when you have to swipe to look around. There have been times when I lined up a perfect headshot and tapped to fire, only to inadvertently look to the left, leaving myself open for attack. And it also takes forever to swivel around, even with the sensitivity set to High, making it way harder than it should be to aim. This is especially grating on the nerves when the game spawns zombie after zombie in your path while you try to get from Point A to Point B. You will take five steps before you're met with another wave of ghouls. I don't know when the undead gained the ability to teleport, but coupled with your cement shoes, it turns an objective that should take 1 minute into a 15 minute blood pressure-raising affair.

Playing online doesn't help very much either, because then you're saddled with taking care of the others. You're more likely to die when you run to aid a partner than you are just sitting in a corner by yourself, acting like a fleshy turret. You can upgrade your weapons and gear to be more effective, as well as sink some points into skill trees, but be warned that it can take a very long time or even some actual money. Upgrading my pistol took a lot of the virtual cash, but then it was capped at a certain level because it required both virtual cash and premium currency bought with real-world money. Yep. This game turns into a grindfest quick.

The missions weren't that thrilling either. A lot of them consisted of fetch quests, surviving for a set amount of time, or protecting NPCs who are probably devoid of any AI and are just happy to stand there, getting mauled by the monsters. The zombies are smart enough to hone in on your location from across the map, so why can't my virtual partners just take a couple of shots at them with their guns? Or hell, they can at least form a phalanx behind me and act as human shields instead of getting in my way when I'm trying to reach an objective. Having NPC partners that shuffle around like they're on an electric football table is not conducive to a good first-person zombie shooter, Foursaken Media.

This was just a terrible game. There are better first-person shooters out there with more compelling content and don't threaten to give you aneurysms every time you play through a mission. The worst part of all of this is that they cap your ability to get stronger and ask you to pay real money to upgrade. I'd understand the need for a paywall if the game was free, but you already drop $1.99 to download the game! If you're going to be spending anything, make sure it's as much time as you can avoiding this game like the zombie plague itself.


App Store Link: N.Y.Zombies 2 for iPhone & iPad | By Foursaken Media | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0 | 436 MB | Rating 12+

2.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating