Review: Z-Run (PSV)

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Title: Z-Run
Format: PlayStation Network Download (150 MB)
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Beatshapers
Developer: Beatshapers
Original MSRP: $8.99 (US), €8.99 (EU), £7.39 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 16
Z-Run is exclusive to PlayStation Vita..
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

It seems like we can’t go a week without a zombie themed movie, comic, TV series, game, lunchbox or even baby outfits. But as we slowly grow weary of the zombie apocalypse the lovely folks at Beatshapers wanted to give us one more game to get infected by.

Gameplay:
You have one simple goal: to escape the zombie infested city. But not by sneaking and avoiding the undead infested streets, oh no that would be crazy. You have to run, slide and jump your way to the end of each street, slowly making your way out of the city. You can pick some different routes to take but they all look the same and lack the variety you’d expect and hope for in a game all about running through the city. You’ll pass the same old cars and buildings with the same old zombies littered throughout the streets.

This may be an infinite runner with zombies thrown into the mix but when you can die in a game by stumbling into a small railing, it just doesn’t feel right. I know the entire point behind the infinite runner is to continuously move without stopping until you reach the end. But when the death of your character is caused by running into a parked car, I can’t help but get annoyed at the insanity I’m witnessing.

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There is a survival mode that accompanies the main campaign but it feels like the same old thing and is just as annoying as the main game. There is an online leaderboard but sadly no way to see just your friends or to post your best scores. It has got some progression in the form of experience points that you can spend on building up the character which makes the subsequent runs a tiny bit easier.

Every move you make, every breath you take (whilst sprinting) reduces the stamina bar. If it drains completely then the character can only trudge along unable to do anything. It does slowly re-fill and you can use an item to top it up. But I feel like it goes against the flow and speed of the running genre.

Visuals:
This isn’t a port from a mobile phone game. I know it may look and play like one, but it isn’t. The graphics aren’t bad, they just don’t do the Vita justice. With the camera set behind your character as he plods along until the end, it can be awkward to judge some things or worse still, to notice an enemy standing behind a vehicle until it’s too late to react.

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As you hit zombies, be it sliding into them or smacking them with a bat, they’ll tumble past your character splattering blood onto the screen as they go. This obstructs your view and needs to be wiped off by rubbing the screen, which as you might guess, can be tricky in the middle of a run. But just as you do, another stupid zombie needs to be taken out and again, you can’t see a thing. Thankfully I noticed the blood can be turned off in the options menu, which I’d advise you do immediately.

Sadly with the gore turned off I quickly noticed the bland repetitive graphics and simple animations to the stupid zombies. They’ll laughably lunge at your character if they get too close or bizarrely sometimes don’t even react at all. Hit detection needs some work, which isn’t good in a title like this.

Audio:
Grunts and groans from the zombies can be just like the zombies themselves, annoying and feeble. However the sound of the metal baseball bat striking an enemy is very satisfying. Music is okay and could be the highlight of this game, which isn’t saying much.

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Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
I struggled to find anything fun in this game, it frustrated and annoyed me more than anything else. This infinite runner isn’t broken, just put together poorly. I suppose some fun could be found here if you love infinite runners and want to mix it up a bit. But for me it feels like a mobile phone game complete with over-complicated mechanics. For a Vita game I expect more, especially at the price bracket this one has. Z-Run is infinitely tedious and arduous.

Score:
4.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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