Dead Z Meat melds two genres that I’ve had just about enough of in my life, zombie apocalypse and shooters, and while I had low expectations for the title I’m happy to say it reinvigorated my interest in both.
The premise is simple, traverse a hexagonal map while obliterating zombies to score points which scale for combos and efficiency earning you currency to upgrade weapons unlocked through progression. Each hexagon is its own “stage” and requires a goal achieved (kill x amount of zombies, survive x amount of time etc.) to clear. You level up and earn new titles such as “reliable squaddie” and “merciless sergeant”, along with new aesthetics & frames for your character card.
While that sounds run of the mill what sets Dead Z Meat apart from the crowd is the surprisingly intuitive use of the JoyCon as a light gun. The con controls a reticle on screen which can be centered by pressing the corresponding button on the con while the Z buttons are used for firing and reloading. It all works together very well and has a quaint DIY feel that was well executed.
Gameplay is straightforward and has the user gunning down waves of zombies in static settings such as Central Park & Times Square while random power ups spawn during battles to aid you on your rampage. Some power ups freeze zombies in place for you to shatter and one causes a hilarious “thriller” homage that needs to be seen. It really is a blast trying to maximize the carnage while using the items scattered across the screen and quite satisfying when you pull a good combo. Figuring out which guns were more effective on certain types of stages and how to efficiently reload to preserve a flawless victory added a layer of depth I wasn’t expecting and was very satisfying.
Dead Z Meat is a blast and had me waxing nostalgic for games like “Time Crisis” and “House of the Dead”. While it’s a lot more “Duck Hunt” than either of those games it made me wish I had a Zapper in my hand and hoping that the light gun genre will see a resurgence. Multiplayer would be a welcome addition to subsequent efforts and this game is a strictly docked title but as a single player game for a ton of mindless fun it really does shine.
Dead Z Meat$9.99
- Intuitive control
- Colorful & creative take on tired genre
- High replay value
- Good overall value
- Begs for multiplayer
- Strictly a docked game, small screen takes away from experience
- A storyline would be nice but isn't a deal breaker