Although it was released a few weeks ago I’ve only just now been able to access the new downloadable content for Zombies!!! on Windows Phone, which follows on from the new DLC for Tentacles and ushers in a new era for Windows Phone gaming.
Not Dead Yet is the first downloadable content available on the Windows Phone to come with extra achievements. The new content, which is a conversion of Zombies!!! 3.5 Not Dead Yet also contains new cards to play with, comes with new animations and the option to play for the first time with a customisable mixed deck.
Sadly all the 50 cards in the board game version of Not Dead Yet have made it over and fewer than 20 are available on the Windows Phone version. Nonetheless it has still nearly doubled the number of available cards in the game. I’m not sure why so few made it but it makes me suspect that the basic set is also missing some cards from the board game (It’s been a while since I bust out my board game version). (CORRECTION: Barbaroga got in touch via Twitter to point out that the Not Dead Yet expansion actually contains two sets of 25 cards, and therefore most of them have made it onto the mobile version. I’m still not sure why, if you can do ‘most’ of them, you can’t do all of them but I’m happy to set the record straight.)
Of more interest to hardened Xbox LIVE gamers is without doubt the presence of additional achievements over and above the standard 200G that comes with ordinary Xbox LIVE games.
Not Dead Yet adds an extra five achievements worth 10G each, taking the total amount of unlockable gamerscore to 250G, a first for a Windows Phone game. The achievements themselves are varied, mainly revolving around playing a certain combination of cards in play. Barbaroga have asked for suggestions from fans for achievements, which bodes well for future DLC releases and implies Zombies!!! could eventually top 300 or even 400G.
Achievements aside though, is the DLC any good? Do the cards work and how do they affect the balance of play?
Well, as the pack has already existed as a physical product for the Zombies!!! board game for some time, it’s really just a case of porting it over. The fact not all the cards have been converted means a poor card selection from the developer, Barbaroga, could imbalance the game in a way the board game isn’t, but it’s not a feeling you get when playing.
If the original product had any flaws they will have been ported over too, but thankfully from what I’ve seen so far it achieves what it sets out to do, and adds a wealth of variety to an already highly accomplished game.
One thing I did notice when playing the Survival mode, a mode I had previously failed in at every attempt, was that as soon as I got the new weapon, the machete, which gives you a permanent +1 to your fight rolls, the game became much easier. This is because your odds of success in fighting a zombie shift from 50/50 to 66/33 (leaving out the thirds) so combined with a backup of bullets you are statistically unlikely to have too much trouble in a fight.
That said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. My own pathetic record in Survival mode without the DLC pack shows how hard that game mode is, so if Not Dead Yet simply evens the score somewhat that may be no bad thing. Better yet, if you do feel it unbalances the play you can simply choose not to include the deck in the game.
At 160 microsoft points, roughly around £1.40, it feels like you get a lot for your money. The achievements are welcome and it’s good to see them so well implemented, which bodes well for more gaming including achievement-laden DLC packs. The extra cards nearly double the amount of cards to play with and while new board pieces would have been nice it’s better to stick with porting over packs as they exist for the board game than create a split between the two different versions.
All in all Not Dead Yet is a superb addition to the Zombies!!! game and it looks set to be the first of many too, with Barbaroga asking fans what expansion pack they’d like to see released next. Combined with the Dog Eat Dog expansion for Tentacles, Windows Phone is finally providing a proper platform for developers to realise the vision of their games.
Now all we need is some proper multiplayer gaming on the platform, something which Zombies!!! will be providing in an update later in the year.