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Bloody Zombies (Xbox)

Developed by Paw Print Games, Bloody Zombies is available now on PC and PS4 for £10.99 and Xbox One for £10.79! It is also VR supported if you have the means to play that way which unfortunately I don't but I can imagine that would be quite a bit of fun!

Set in London, which has been lost to the undead plague, the last hopes of mankind lay in the hands of 4 outcasts... what could go wrong?
Bloody Zombies is a side-scrolling brawler which supports up to 4 player co-op which has both local co-op and online matchmaking! You can play alone but it is a much harder task without backup (trust me, I tried) and you really won’t get very far. 

Bloody Zombies has been influenced by Streets of Rage; although Bloody Zombies certainly has better graphics and so looks better, they are incredibly similar in play style even after 20 years! There have been a few instances where the framerate has dropped quite significantly but thankfully it rectifies itself pretty quickly. The level design has been really well done and you certainly don’t feel like there is any repetition. There are even secret places to find!

I like the voices of the four characters, they are quite humorous which certainly adds to the personality of the game. The music is upbeat and in keeping with the game, and the sounds of combat have been done really well.
You begin with a tutorial level where you learn the controls and to be honest, half of the time I was pressing the combo it didn't work consistently... It took a while but eventually, I found the option in the menu to simplify the controls which helped and meant I had a better success rate against the zombies. I really dislike having to double tap a button/stick in order to run, why you can’t just click the left stick in is beyond me. I go through a lot of controllers due to how much I play video games and having to double tap the sticks really doesn’t help preserve life!

In the beginning, the enemies are all different and you get to know them and their special moves so you can dodge them which is all fine but after you’ve fought the first boss, suddenly you get a new type of enemy which is the same first boss, just in miniature form. It gets to a point where you can actually predict when they (yes, they often spawn in twos) are about to appear. This particular enemy is an absolute nightmare to defeat and in my opinion, it takes far too long.

With slow-moving characters (compared to the enemies at least) and frequently clunky and unresponsive controls, the last thing you need is an enemy that takes ages to kill! I believe that a game like this should be fast, fun and action-packed chaos but what you get instead is slow, cumbersome and infuriating carnage.
Reviving simply didn't work at times when the dead body was in an awkward position, the 'B' option came up over the dead player but no matter how much pressing or holding B, they stayed dead. Not really helpful when you're trying to make progress through a level and there is a score based on revives! Eventually, when you finally do get the revive option to work, you sacrifice one of your own lives in order to resurrect your ally which ultimately doesn’t help you very much. On one hand, you need as much help as possible to get through the level but you also want to be a part of that…
Unfortunately, the theme throughout Bloody Zombies does seem to be "inconsistency" and I found that I could only manage to play in short bursts (one level at a time) rather than allowing myself to get lost in the game because of the sheer amount of rage building up! I have tried to really like this game as it’s a genre I am usually very fond of, but it isn’t easy. Levels are pretty lengthy so it’s worth keeping in mind that if you don’t finish the level and defeat the boss at the end, you lose your progress and will have to replay the entire level again next time you return.

Matchmaking works well and you can set your game to private or public depending on your preferences although with experience, the more people in your game, the easier it is to progress. Frustratingly, there is no kick teammate option for when you get a bad apple join your team. I am not usually a fan of kicking people mid game but sometimes it is necessary.

Bloody Zombies has a free-for-all loot system which really needs to be looked at, in my opinion. In a game, which is this difficult and loot that drops in mass, people tend to scramble for every item they can get their hands on (even health when they don’t need it!). There is a sense of needing to improve your character and not having individual loot inevitably brings out selfishness in some and it gets quite irritating when you have one player rushing to absolutely all the skills that drop! I quite like the skill system in Bloody Zombies, even if it is needlessly complicated, I like how you can choose to equip the special moves that suit your playstyle! Once you've completed the game on "Normal", you can up the ante to "Hard" and then again to "Insane" when you've completed it all on Hard. On insane difficulty you die, its game over and you lose everything... I don't see myself playing that any time soon!

Overall, I have enjoyed playing Bloody Zombies in short bursts. It is definitely a game best-played co-op with people you actually know/trust. If I had to give it a score it would be 6/10. It is a game I enjoyed playing with friends but it does have its frustrations (already mentioned) which I think are unnecessary and could hopefully be looked into and fixed in future patches.  

Bloody Zombies has 40 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. It is a real shame that when playing co-op, the achievements for certain things in a level don't unlock for all of the players (opening a secret stash for example) so you will have to replay the level several times to unlock it for everybody. The achievement list is plentiful and varied though which is good and will certainly keep you busy if you intend to 100% the achievement list. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements, then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

Game codes were provided for the purpose of this review (one was allowed to be used in a giveaway). Thank you!
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