Atom Zombie Smashing

Atom Zombie Smasher is an original take on the zombie apocalypse game environment with solid gameplay and quirky humor.

Atom Zombie Smasher is an original take on the zombie apocalypse game environment with solid gameplay and quirky humor.

Zombie games are everywhere.  It’s practically a legal requirement that any given game designer work on at least one zombie game, and by now we’ve seen those games in almost every genre.  With so many games focused on the undead shamblers ranging from awesome to embarassingly bad, it’s hardly a sure thing as to whether any venture into the sub-genre will be enjoyable.

Rescue civilians!

Atom Zombie Smasher plays differently from most full-size zombie games, with the closest comparisons in terms of gameplay being mostly flash games on various sites.  I mean that in the best way possible.  Rather than running around shooting moaning corpses with the same four weapons we’ve all used a dozen times before, you’re the eye in the sky directing everything from artillery to foot soldiers to mines to orbital bombardment to try and secure the safety of the panic-driven denizens of the various areas on the map.

Each level you’re tasked with rescuing a certain number of the helpless civilians.  Your rescue chopper can only carry so many at a time and the zombies won’t wait, so this means you need to use your various mercenaries to hold off the horde long enough to extract enough people to safety.  Once successful, you pick a new map and start again.  Each day has a chance of having a random variable that can make it easier or harder, adding a bit more variety and uncertainty to each mission.

Build your mercenary army!

You unlock new mercenaries as you progress, with each having distinct advantages and limitations, and in the standard game mode you only have access to a random selection of your mercenary army each day, forcing you to strategize based on what is available rather than developing one singular strategy and applying it everywhere.  Between missions, the map grants points to the player and to the zombies, granting both sides persistent benefits and power-ups (such as the aforementioned orbital bombardment or giant-sized zombies) before one side or the other reaches the total that signals total victory.

Blow up zombies!

The gameplay is solid and fun, but what really sets Atom Zombie Smasher apart and makes it worth its (modest) price is the personality that was carefully imbued in every aspect of the game.  It clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously, with short reels in between missions giving amusing and strange anecdotes.  My only real criticism is the multiplayer, or lack thereof.  It technically -has- a multiplayer function, but it is a hotseat gametype requiring one player with a mouse and others with gamepads, restricting it from a large portion of the gaming community.

I picked the game up on a whim, and while it isn’t a title that I’ve ever spent days playing endlessly, I’ve found myself re-installing and returning to it regularly for a few hours every so many weeks.  Grab it the next time it goes on sale and enjoy.

About the author


Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.