Zombies and twin stick shooters go together like peanut butter and brain jelly. Undead Storm Nightmare is yet another zombie-slaying shooter that boasts an interesting mix of gameplay mechanics but is that enough to compel you to survive another apocalypse?
Undead Storm Nightmare puts you in the shoes of a Special Forces unit who must wipe out as many zombies as she can. You control her as you would in any other twin stick shooter with the exception that you only have one stick. To compensate for this, you rotate your character by using the shoulder buttons which is far from ideal. Don't get me wrong, the controls are serviceable, but rotating a character by tapping buttons and looking at an arrow to aim is far more inaccurate and problematic than the immediate responsiveness of a second stick. It makes me wonder if the developers have ever heard of the Circle Pad Pro. Anyway, you can also switch weapons and use items to heal on the fly which creates a more survivalist experience than just killing zombies mindlessly since your ammo and health are limited. The controls take some getting used to, but you may have a good time after you adjust to them.
Graphically, there isn't much to be impressed by because there simply isn't enough visual variety in any sense of the word. You only have three grey lifeless environments to run around in and a handful of different zombies to kill. Even collectable materials that you come across look exactly the same. The varieties of zombies appear suitable for their characteristics since you'll battle fat ones, tall ones, dogs, upper torsos, and flame worms, but every zombie of each type is an identical clone. This is also one of those 3DS games that features full 3D graphics yet no actual 3D support. I still don't understand why they would miss out on this opportunity. On the bright side, the audio is very well done. The soundtrack consists of rocking guitars that make you feel like a genuine badass zombie slayer. Effects as you shoot and collect items are incredibly satisfying, especially when you hear zombies moan as they are defeated. To top it off, you're treated to a dastardly sounding announcer from time to time who seems like he's straight out of a Resident Evil game.
Some interesting gameplay mechanics from various genres are implemented that help keep things fresh. Besides running, shooting, and surviving, you also need to be stealthy because invulnerable zombies known as Nightwalkers are lurking around. Once one notices you, it will chase you relentlessly until it promptly catches up and that's when the nightmare begins. You literally enter "Nightmare Time" where the zombies become more enraged and powerful and will therefore kill you a lot faster. So, it's probably a good idea to avoid that. Although the mixture of action, survival, and stealth can be enjoyable, you may find trying to be stealthy as you kill hordes of zombies quite a challenging juxtaposition. In general, there's more to do than just shoot zombies.
A noteworthy inclusion is the wide array of unlockable and upgradable weapons. As you progress, you'll obtain weapons such as handguns, a shotgun, rifles, a flamethrower, rocket launchers, and even a railgun. You can also add some explosive power to your arsenal in the form of grenades, mines, and bombs as well as melee weapons such as a sword, sledgehammer, and the classic chainsaw. Upgrading your weapons is rewarding since you use found materials and your earned coins to do so. Weapons may only have a limited number of available upgrades so strategising which stats to focus on becomes an intriguing dilemma. If you're like me, you'll find yourself experimenting with the different weapons more than you'll actually make progress in the campaign.
The campaign is divided into 16 missions with each containing a few areas to complete. Occasionally, you'll also encounter three ridiculous bosses which can be challenging and fun. The goal of each area is to basically make it to the exit that seems to always contain plenty of loot. Along the way, you'll encounter a few obstacles such as being caged in an area and forced to survive for a limited time or having to find all of the nodes to unlock a door. You'll also pick up coins and other items from breakable objects and be rewarded with more coins upon completing missions. This brings me to the most frustrating part of the game which is that you must pay a lot of coins in order to unlock further missions. Because of this, you'll find yourself grinding to simply progress. As a result, you are unable to afford any of the weapons or perks along the way since everything is too expensive.
If you ever get lonely shooting zombies all by yourself then a friend can join you as long as they are in close proximity, own a 3DS along with another copy of the game, enjoy grinding, and can forgive the unintuitive controls and bland graphics. Although finding someone who fits this description may be difficult, it'll make the overall experience much more enjoyable.
Zombie apocalypses are a common occurrence in video games and Undead Storm Nightmare doesn't quite live up to many of its counterparts. You may find some fun in the interesting blend of gameplay mechanics and wide assortment of weapons, but with endless grinding and unnatural controls, you probably won't hang out in this dreary post-apocalyptic world for long.
- + Interesting mix of gameplay mechanics
- + Satisfying music and audio effects
- + Weapons are fun to unlock, upgrade, and experiment with
- - Unintuitive controls for twin stick shooting and no Circle Pad Pro support
- - Bland graphics with lack of visual variety
- - Too much grinding is required to progress