I love indie games that experiment with genre combinations and Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes is definitely a great example of that.
│ Just like in nearly all our reviews, you can watch A.J. play Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes below so you can judge accordingly. ▶️
Before playing Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes, I assumed it would be a goofy pinball game with zombies roaming around on the tables and I was correct. However, there's much more to it than that. For starters, the campaign takes place on a hexagon-filled map where you move your character between points of interest. As you do so, you'll uncover treasures and challenge pinball stages. Meanwhile, tiles will gradually become plague-ridden so you definitely can't dillydally. Finally, if you run out of HP then the game is over and you'll have to start all over again albeit with permanent unlockables and some item carry-overs in place. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, it is. 😎 v1d30chumz 44-192-38-248
Considering I wasn't expecting a roguelike structure at all, I'm happy to say that I'm quite impressed with how it all works together as there's a surprising amount of strategy required between the pinball action as you gradually uncover the area map while trying not to get caught in the plague. Of course, this also means that you'll regularly have to make sacrifices. Will you battle an elite squad of enemies in order to level-up one of your skills or will you use a shovel to clear debris in front of a valuable campfire? Whichever one you choose, the plague might envelop the other option so pick wisely! Then, when you make it to the area boss, you'll hopefully be prepared. 😅
I know what you're wondering; what's the actual pinball gameplay like? Well, it's highly enjoyable and intuitive. One helpful aspect is that a line is drawn from your ball which helps you aim wherever you want to fling it next and you can call the ball back at any time in case it gets stuck because these tables can be rather complex complete with separate rooms, etc. Anyway, smacking zombies with the ball is satisfying stuff and on top of that, there are many mechanics that you can trigger throughout that are exceptionally cool such as hidden bonus stages, giant zombie traps, and you can even change the weather in some levels. It's super-fun stuff for sure. 😄
Of course, the campaign and the pinball gameplay tie together in that you can power-up your character by levelling up, equipping skills, and earning passive accessories. So, besides just flinging the ball around, you can also tap the face buttons to deploy various skills as well as use an ultimate ability that can devastate the zombie horde. As you play, you'll also reach unlock tiers; of which, there are literally hundreds. This allows you to play as new characters, unlock items and features, and even permanently level-up certain skills. Needless to say, gathering a wealth of upgrades and unlockables makes the gameplay much more varied and rewarding. 🏆
On a presentational level, Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes looks just great as its levels are cartoonishly detailed and the zombies are quite cute with their silly chibi-like character models that wander around as you play. The audio is superb, too, with plenty of fitting silly effects and charming tunes that sound like they belong in a kids' Halloween movie. With that being said, the visuals can become overwhelmingly complex at times, especially in the more chaotic levels when you unleash a bunch of skills. This can make it difficult to track your ball and discern what exactly is hurting you. My only other complaint is that the gameplay and roguelike structure are very luck-based which can be frustrating whenever you're playing exceptionally well but then get unexpectedly defeated by something anyway. 🥺
Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes is the best indie surprise of the year so far. Its combination of pinball action, strategic roguelike structure, and cartoony goofiness is just great for anyone who loves having fun with their video games.
- + Fantastic blend of pinball gameplay with a strategic roguelike campaign
- + Cute graphics and silly sounds
- + Loads of goodies to unlock and discover
- - Visuals can get too chaotic at times
- - Many elements are very luck-based