Zombie High Dive Review (IOS)
Zombie High Dive is a physics based title from Chillingo, and having the undead splash through the waters is an intriguing concept. Whether you'll want to dive into this game, however, is an entirely different story.
Playing as determined zombie Hubo, the goal is beat the opposition's score by executing three dives. Judges give Hubo high marks if he performs a flip correctly and is able to stick his landing. It's imperative to perform the exact landing that's specified for each dive. For example, even if I hit a solid spin and land head first, the judges will dole out low scores if the dive actually required a feet first landing.
The dive begins by using swiping a finger across the screen and aiming towards the skies. When the finger is released, Hubo launches in mid-air, and to have him flip during his descent, a simple touch to the screen is all that's needed. The actual controls may be simple enough, but executing the perfect dive is a pretty tall order. By giving gamers an up close and personal view of his jump, we see everything that has a close enough radius to the diver. That's a great aspect if you want to check out game's visual design, but most of the time it feels that Hubo is jumping off a cliff and into a great big void.
The title's freemium mechanic is also frustrating, as it's hard to develop sustained momentum and excitement over the zombie's diving excursions. Although Zombie High Dive's gameplay is diverting enough to get you addicted, it's nothing more than a pick up and play experience due to its free-to-play structure.
Whether you win or lose, each competition costs you one ticket, and each ticket takes a lengthy twenty minutes to generate. To play just four games in a row, you'll need eighty minutes to stock up. With each match lasting mere minutes, waiting almost an hour and a half to zombie dive for several minutes is not too tantalizing.
If your diver hits his head against the rocks or fails to generate the desired judges' score, the dives can be redone by bribing the judges with brain biscuits. These brain biscuits can be purchased as premium items or earned organically. Each victorious match earns players more biscuits and experience points, so purchasing extra biscuits is not mandatory to continue with Zombie High Drive. The game also has Facebook integration which enables players to compete against their friends. By liking the official Zombie High Dive page, gamers will receive 500 extra brain biscuits to use in their dives
Although it is a simple swipe and touch physics experience, the actual gameplay is addictive enough to warrant a look. The game's sound design is also top notch, as onlookers can be heard cheering and heckling Hubo as he dives. Each splash to the bottom or Hubo diving mishap is rendered with the perfect sound effect - even the sound of birds can be heard off into the distance. If Zombie High Dive was solely judged on a pure auditory level, it would receive high marks. Many apps are burdened by annoying music themes that detract from the overall experience, but even though Zombie High Dive's score is simplistic, it's surprisingly catchy and didn't get on my nerves.
The inspired visuals also give us a clear vision of Hubo's world, as each blue green zombie have their own interesting look. Luxuriating in this universe is a wonderful option, but since it takes so darn long to generate the tickets needed to enter a diving match, some gamers won't have the patience for further zombie adventures.
As much as I wanted to love Zombie High Dive, the 20-minute ticket generating madness as well as the occasional ads that pop up between matches ruined my experience. Developers must understand that in-app purchases and Facebook integration are tolerated by some but hated by many. Unfortunately, this diving experience doesn't go any deeper than the shallow side of the pool, as this is one zombie tale that just isn't worth repeating.
This review is based on a code provided by the publisher of Zombie High Dive for iOS.