Dead Block Review
Developer: Candygun Games UG
Genre: Zombie Survival
Platform: PSN, XBOX Live Arcade
Release: Available Now (July 2011)
Save your 800 points! There, review done! Well not entirely, I will back up such a bold statement on what could have/should have been a great little Live Arcade game. Zombies, construction workers, police officers and boy scouts? It definitely has the formula for an interesting game. So why did it fall short?
As you can imagine with most zombie survival games, the main idea is to survive. Dead Block pits you in a small neighborhood against the undead where you’re required to break down all the furniture indoors and build shelter. You play as either … umm… that construction worker, the kid or the female cop. There is literally no emotional attachment to these characters and searching for their now forgotten names is pointless. Do they even have names?
The game takes place in a 60’s rock and roll era with Elvis posters scattered throughout and a monster movie theme thrown on top. The idea behind this is that “Rock’n’Roll” caused the outbreak. This also, for some reason, is the way to win the game.
Here is where Dead Block shines, or should have. The idea is to destroy everything insight gathering wood and bolts in order to build traps and barriers. It’s a simple idea but one that has worked time and time again with much smaller mini-games. This process quickly becomes tedious and is just as hastily complicated by the introduction of the other characters.
You can switch on the fly between the three and each character has an individual ridiculous “trap”. An example of this is the construction worker builds a freezing trap, which temporarily turns the zombies to ice. The problem here is repairs, you have to constantly repair the traps but if you’ve selected another character they just start building their own. It complicates things and not in a good way.
There’s an added feature to the game where you search through objects using the left and right triggers to sort the “trash” and find a bolt. This process is ridiculous and gets increasingly more annoying as you’re required to continually do it. The same tedious mini-game style is applied to finding the guitar amp parts, which are required to beat the level. It’s essentially the most simplistic lock system mini-game ever created.
This is a very cell-shaded cartoon styled game and I really enjoyed that part. It’s simple but not too simple that it looses its appeal. With a game like this I don’t even really mind facing off against the same 4 zombies over and over because, honestly, it’s acceptable. Unfortunately there’s not other redeeming qualities to Dead Block’s presentation. The music is “ok” and the characters have no real presence as far as voice.
Dead Block is an attempt at a mini-game driven zombie game which fails to meet the minimum criteria, have FUN mini-games! They even toss a guitar hero-like game at the end of the level, which feels sluggish and is characteristically to this game, boring. That’s the best word I can come up with to describe it, boring. It’s unfortunate too because I can guarantee you, if you’re like me you’re going to go in to it REALLY wanting a fun little game. Unfortunately you’re left with what feels like the bare minimum framework for an all right game.
If you’re still curious, download the trial. This should give you the bland taste of Dead Block you need to steer clear.