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Cowboys Vs Zombies

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Slow on the draw

Product: Cowboys Vs Zombies | Developer: Tall Chair | Format: iPhone | Genre: Tower defence | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
 
Cowboys Vs Zombies iPhone, thumbnail 1
To survive in the old West meant being quick on the draw.

It's the same with making tower defence games. You have to be quick to deliver entertaining action, while at the same time aiming for a competitive slate of features.

Cowboys Vs Zombies fails to hit either target, instead hoping for a lucky shot with its clever setting. Admittedly, there's much to like about the cheeky undead West, but it's not enough to pay the bounty on this slow-moving tower defence game.

You're charged with standing your ground against waves of zombies. The town's sheriff stands in the foreground at the end of a dirt road that bisects the town of UnDeadwood, down which zombies trundle. You place cowboys on top of the buildings lining the causeway and even station them in the road to take on the undead head-on.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Obviously, the goal is to eliminate zombies before they reach the sheriff, but it's equally vital that you prevent the destruction of town structures and cowboys. Using cash earnings from defeated zombies enables you to hire additional cowboys and upgrade veteran units for extra firepower.

There are different types of unit that you can hire, including shotgun-wielding cowboys, prospectors that hurl dynamite, and snipers. Equal variety in the types of zombies that shamble into town - diminutive speeders, lumbering tanks, and cowboy hat-donning zombie dudes - require you to dispatch different cowboys. Though long before all these units appear, your interest will likely have waned.

New units are introduced at an excruciatingly slow rate. The first level is an absolute bore since you're granted access to a single unit. The second stage is barely an improvement, with a paltry set of two cowboys at your disposal.

Ride lonesome

Later levels are much better when it comes to variety, yet there are other issues that prevent Cowboys Vs Zombies from hitting the mark.

Changes to the level design are needed and the pace of gameplay has to be quickened. Not enough money is earned during the first few waves of a stage to adequately defend the forward section of the road. It's not effective spending resources that end up being munched by zombies.

The lesson is that spending resources on forward defences is a waste. Instead, the game encourages you to arrange defences near your sheriff, which renders the majority of space in any given level useless. Redesigning levels, adjusting the amount of cash earned, or addressing combat balancing are possible remedies.

Unforgiven


The game's slow pace compounds the game's problems. Molasses poured out of a bottle on a cold day moves faster at times. Long gaps between some waves leave you sitting without anything to do.

Combine these empty stretches with back-loaded level design in which you have to wait for zombies to walk down the road and it should come as no surprise that you're bored more often than entertained.

The easiest solution is to incorporate a fast-forward button, but this won't address fundamental issues with the game's design.

Missing features - some of which are expected of any serious entry to the genre - don't help matters. OpenFeint integration is touted, but I couldn't find it in the game. An endless survival mode isn't available, nor are any social networking options.

Cowboys Vs Zombies
is an amusing, though unpolished, idea. Its setting is more exciting than its gameplay, which is to say that it may look the part of a mean cowboy, but it's slow on the draw.
 
Cowboys Vs Zombies
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 28 July 2010
Slow pacing, unusual level design, and missing features prevent Cowboys Vs Zombies from hitting its target
 
Have Your Say
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Anonymous | 20:31 - 28 July 2010
We have Open Feint in the next update and we are working at correcting the spawn rate of the zombies, save points and a speed up button. The levels have been tuned and are live. We are working on getting these changes in as soon as the latest update goes live.

Tall Chair Devs.
 
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