Zombies Ate My Pizza is the latest game from R2Games. Officially, it’s their snarkiest game too. Its titular reference to the LucasArts classic, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, is fitting, as ZAMP is likewise presented with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor. The gameplay involves running around and shooting zombies, with plenty of the MMORPG trappings you’d expect from R2Games mixed in.
Alien bugs have introduced a deadly virus to a world that’s absolutely obsessed with pizza. The virus turns people into dough-brained zombies who believe humans are pizzas. As it turns out, pizza-obsessed people turn into pizza-obsessed zombies, and the world’s got a huge problem. Humanity faces extinction, but small groups of stubborn soldiers are fighting back. You are one of these soldiers and it’s up to you to defeat the zombies and save mankind.
If it’s not abundantly clear yet, the game’s setting is flat-out goofy, especially for a post-apocalyptic shooter. The pizza-crazed world is kind of fun to play in though, because the developers have fully embraced it. Rather than leave it half-baked, they have taken every single opportunity to infuse the game with wonderfully cheesy pizza jokes. The premium currency is “Cheddar”, your partner is “Brie”, the signature smell of zombies is burnt cheese. Here are some more gems from the first hour of gameplay:
“I like my crust stuffed… with bullets!”
“Three square pizza meals a day keeps the doctors away!”
“With this ammo, we can [have] some real deep-dish defense!”
“Watch your back, you’re no use to us in several slices.”
Admittedly, the jokes are awful; few will elicit more than a chuckle. It works though, because the delivery is spot-on. Instead of feeling like plain bad writing, it feels intentionally campy — like you’re in on the joke. If nothing else, the absolutely endless stream of pizza puns is impressive.
After signing in to the server, you’ve got your choice of gender and class. The Commando is bulkier and the Bomber scores more critical hits, but they play very similarly. The WASD keys move you around the battlefield and you use the mouse to aim and shoot. As you level up, you gain new abilities that can be prepped with the keyboard then fired with the mouse. Your gun is the backbone of your firepower, but grenades, turrets, shields, and more are important complementary powers.
Instances are packed with zombies but are small enough that they’ll only take a few minutes to accomplish. After defeating every last zombie (which usually includes a huge boss zombie), you’ll be given a star-rating, gold, XP, and souls. You’ll return to the military hub after each battle to turn in your completed missions and pick up new ones. You’ll also be able to buy new gear and invest in various upgrades in the hub. Every little change you make (level up, new gear, enchant equipment, upgrade a skill, etc.) will reflect in your Battle Rating, a numerical score that describes your overall power.
My biggest problem with browser MMORPGs is that they often automate combat, which cuts out nearly all of the skill in a game, reducing it to nothing more than a grind. Zombies Ate My Pizza’s real-time combat handily overcomes this common flaw. First of all, combat isn’t automated at all. Secondly, your Battle Rating is only a guideline. Since the combat is action-packed and real-time, your skill is incredibly important to your success. Sure it’s nice to do more damage with more gear, but if you can’t dodge and aim at the same time, even the best gun isn’t going to keep you alive.
I was pleasantly surprised by how fun the combat is, especially after you progress to the second and third hour of gameplay. Like most browser MMORPGs, ZAMP has tons of menus and options for your character. If you were given everything from the get-go, it would be incredibly overwhelming. Fortunately, menus and abilities are slowly unlocked as you progress. Each new ability significantly expands the depth of combat. For instance, a secondary gun automatically fires when you’re not manually firing the primary gun. It’s not as powerful, but it lets you focus on your footwork.
At its core, ZAMP is a modern, free-to-play, browser-based MMORPG and it has all the trappings to prove it. There’s premium currency, energy bars, daily rewards, VIP levels, and tons of ways to upgrade your character. Zombies Ate My Pizza stands apart from the rest on its combat system and its silly pizza-zombie setting. Both add up to a surprisingly fun offering from R2Games. The shoot ‘em up gameplay is intense but approachable, and it blends really nicely with special abilities and RPG progression. The pizza-obsessed setting is great, both because it’s so unique and because of its cheeky humor. ZAMP is a great choice if you’re looking for a fun mashup of RPG and shoot ‘em up gameplay.