12th Jan2018

‘Bloody Zombies’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Emma Rees


Bloody Zombies is a side scrolling beat ‘em up with platforming and hordes of ravenous zombies. Introduced in the style of a graphic novel, you discover that London has been completely overrun with the undead and you must survive the ensuing carnage either by yourself or with friends. You can choose to play with up to three friends either locally or online.

Before you start, there are four distinct characters to choose from: Eddie, Rei, Mick or Teller. They all play the same but their dialogue varies. The dialogue becomes repetitive when it comes to picking up items and fighting enemies but otherwise the British humour raises a smile. Initially there are two difficulties to choose from, easy and normal. If you’re a more hardcore player, then normal mode has to be completed to unlock the higher difficulty. In true old skool fashion you have lives, which if lost, sent you all the way back to the start of a level. There is a chance to play the optional tutorial which takes you through a stage with small objectives you must complete before continuing.

There are several fighting combos to remember and a good few gameplay actions but if you need a reminder, the tutorial can be replayed via the level select map. Controls can also be simplified by pausing the game and choosing the simple skill type. At first, the characters feel a little stiff to control but as you play on, it becomes second nature. Similar to other games in the genre, the sprites can face left or right and still move up and down the screen. That isn’t a problem itself but it makes jumping onto or over an object in the background feel clunky and unnatural. Traversing more precise platforming sections can also take a few attempts, especially because a lot of jumps require running which requires double tapping a direction on the d-pad or analog stick.

There are a variety of levels to fight through including the streets, a school, a bar, an airport, and more. Each stage introduces new zombie types and they have different attacks. Some zombies use weapons whereas others will stun you, slow you down or come at you with brute strength. To fight the horde, temporary weapons or other items can be found in secret areas or in breakable objects along the way such a bins or crates. Some enemies also drop useful pickups, especially bosses. The bosses of each stage are grotesque but repeated from previous levels and simply placed into the different environments. It’s a shame because it would have been interesting to have bosses as varied as the zombies themselves.

There are strategies best suited to taking down certain enemy types and it is a lot of fun to try out the different skills to dispatch them. Skills are sorted into four colours, although it’s never explained which colour is for which skill type. It doesn’t really matter that much though because most of them feel good to use and you will probably find that you have one or two favourites. Switching skills is easy enough but if you happen to forget the button combination, bringing up the skill ‘info’ will remind you.


Skills use energy which is indicated by a grey energy bar. Once you run out, you’ll have to resort to regular close quarters combat until it replenishes or you find an energy canister. Skills can be leveled up if you find one of the same whilst playing or if you have enough cash to buy a replica in a shop. Shop’s are found throughout some some stages and they allow you to buy or upgrade existing skills. It is likely that you won’t be able to afford most skills on the first playthrough. The lack of cash encourages the replaying of stages so that you can have a more diverse skill set for the next playthrough. As well as skills, Bloody Zombies also has environmental hazards which you can use to your advantage. It’s always amusing to see a zombie splattered by rotating spikes or a swinging pendulum. Not so much when it’s you.

The combat is broken up by occasional gauntlet sections which are full of deadly traps, usually of the sharp and pointy type. Being pursued by a spinning saw blade whilst also being attacked by zombies is just one of the heart racing moments that will be encountered.

Multiplayer mode is by far, the best way to experience the game and offers a sense of competitive as well as cooperative play. Items are not shared so you can steal bonus points, health and anything else that you discover. Difficulty also scales up whilst playing with friends, requiring more hits to defeat bosses and spawning more zombies.

The end of a level gives several stats such as damage dealt, the amount of kills and an overall ranking. It’s fun to see how you stack up against a friend or how well you played through an area.

Bloody Zombies is aesthetically impressive with its crisp sprites and detailed, hand drawn backgrounds. Unfortunately, there are some long loading screens which can be a minor annoyance between stages. The title screen has a particularly long waiting time but it is a small issue for a game that is so much fun to play. Players who are into side scrolling brawlers or who are obsessed with the undead need look no further than Bloody Zombies.

**** 4/5

Developed by Paw Print Games Ltd and published by nDreams, Bloody Zombies is available to download now on the Nintendo Switch.


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