Videogames are cool because of some of the situations that arise from within them. Take, for instance, Street Fighter vs., well, pretty much anything: people love to see unlikely battles, resulting in some weird pairings. Well, Dragonhead Games’ Zombies & Trains takes two very different things and mashes them together like a collision between an undead being and a heavy, on-rails vehicle – and the result is simply smashing!
In the main Arcade Mode, four tracks criss-cross the field of battle; two parallel tracks horizontally, and two vertcally, much like a giant hashtag. In the centre of this arena sits a solitary golden brain. This object must be kept safe from the zombies at all costs. The shambling creatures start from the edges of the arena and make their way to the centre to chow down. To stop them, you must simply touch one of the tracks and a train will instantly appear on one side and hurtle toward the opposite end, destroying everything in its path. One must take care in their train deployment, though, as a collision between trains will result in a temporary inability to use the tracks affected, allowing the zombies a reprieve from the religion of pancake-ism.
Aside from Arcade Mode, there are three other ways to play: Wave Mode, Crossing and Slaughter. Wave features increasingly difficult waves of zombies – pretty much just like Arcade Mode. Crossing reduces your number of tracks to two parallel tracks instead of four; your goal is to prevent zombies crossing from one side to the other for one whole minute (of course, the difficulty gets ridiculous the closer you get to the minute mark). Slaughter features three parallel tracks and is basically all about piling up as many bodies as possible.
Power-ups make the arena a better, bloodier place.
In addition, there are power-ups that allow for such things as flaming tracks and nuclear strikes; there are also achievements and leaderboards for those of you who enjoy being competitive. Each of the four modes will appeal to different personality types and the pick-up-and-play style will appeal to the time-conscious. The only real issue that I had was the iPod Touch screen is so small that I had to take care in where I touched to deploy my trains. Other than that one minor annoyance, I really had a lot of fun smashing the hell out of zombies.
For a buck you really can’t go wrong with this title. Fast and satisfying game-play, negligible glitches and a fun, cartoonish feel make for a fun time. If you want to be efficient with your pocketbook and your watch, Zombies & Trains is easy to learn and hard to put down – especially if you hate zombies.