Call Of Duty: World At War: Zombies offered truly terrible value for money when it launched early last year. I can't deny that it worked as an iPhone shooter, but a single map simply wasn't enough. Activision have finally learned their lesson after attempting to flog us the rest of the game as downloadable content, bundling everything together into a definitive edition that's finally a serious contender on the App Store.
World At War was a decent console FPS that still provokes a lot of poorly-directed hate, but we can all agree that the undead slaying cooperative mode was awesome. Going solo or teaming up with mates, players were tasked with killing increasingly dangerous waves of zombies to gain money for bigger guns and unlocking new sections of sprawling, dangerous stages. Impressively, Call Of Duty: Zombies manages to crunch this frenetic experience onto the iPhone handset in its entirety, right down to the gibbering hordes themselves. Whilst the four maps are undoubtedly less detailed than their home console counterparts, they're all packed with guns, zombie breaching points and unlockable areas that hold the keys to eventual salvation. The complete version also features new (and more frequent) special zombies that provide an extra challenge beyond wandering around with outstretched arms.
First Person Shooters tend to have real trouble on the iPhone. Luckily Treyarch noticed that poor controls can kill an otherwise excellent app stone dead and concentrated on making it as responsive as possible. A gyroscopic tilt mode is useful for a brief novelty, but the vast majority of players will favour the dual virtual thumbstick input that provides exactly the same setup that we're used to on the Xbox 360 or PS3. There's no learning curve to speak of; just ironsights, headshots and knife kills courtesy of perfectly-placed onscreen icons. Scalable autoaim provides adequate compensation for the slight loss in precision.
Zombies, like the virus they carry, were always intended to be shared with friends. The Call of Duty series is famed for its multiplayer offerings- so in a similar vein, this mobile addition brings a quick, simple and effective cooperative mode to the table. Between two and four players can team up locally (via local Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) or online through a Wi-Fi connection. The netcode is a little unpredictable and can lead to players unexpectedly being kicked or suffering from poor performance on otherwise fast connections, but when it works, the brutal shenanigans are absolutely astounding. You'll need tight teamwork to survive everything the horde has to throw at you! It's also possible to view your accumulated stats online, which is a nice touch.
Call Of Duty: Zombies is not perfect by any means. The graphics are functional without being retina-optimised or otherwise outstanding, and frame rate occasionally chunters along when the action starts to hot up. Note that the HD version is only compatible with the iPad! There's a case to be made that the singleplayer experience is also fairly limited, but for the price, this pocket shooter is difficult to fault.
- Huge detailed maps
- Console FPS mechanics
- Riotous multiplayer...
- … when it works.
- Graphics lack punch
- No Game Center support
Summary: Call Of Duty: World At War: Zombies delivers an unbelievably comprehensive FPS experience that's finally worth the asking price. Shooter fans should consider an immediate purchase.
Compatibility: SD version compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. HD version compatible with iPad only.