PLAY This – Age of Zombies

The Xperia Play has now been officially available from Verizon Wireless for those in the United States for over a week. For those of you who bought the phone, or those looking to see if some of your favorite Android games play even better on this hybrid device, then have we got the feature for you. In the spotlight this week: Age of Zombies by Halfbrick Studios.

Age of Zombies was actually previously released as a PlayStation MiniS title, and was later announced for the Xperia Play. The premise is pretty straightforward – you play as Barry Steakfries, a trigger-happy wisecracking gunslinger on a mission to save the world. Professor Brains has unleashed hordes of zombies across time in an effort to destroy humanity, and you are tasked with going into various time periods and ensuring all those pesky zombies are dealt with.

At its core, Age of Zombies is a dual-stick shooter. While these kinds of games lend themselves nicely to just a touchscreen, your hands can still get in the way of the action and you can die from a zombie or attack you couldn’t see in the corner of the screen. Naturally, the Xperia Play neutralizes this problem. The analog control is phenomenal, and this is yet another game to showcase the accuracy of the touchpad joysticks. You move Mr. Steakfries with the left analog pad, and shoot with the right. You can also lob grenades (or mines or whatever incendiary device you picked up last) with the R button, and that’s really all there is to this game.

The story here is pretty light, but generally enjoyable. While many of the jokes you can see coming from a mile away, there are a few moments that will get a chuckle or two out of you. The audio is fitting, which typically incorporates a rock-inspired track alongside gunshots and explosions as you cause mayhem onscreen. The zombies can get a bit repetitive, however, uttering “brains” a little too often for my liking. The game engine can handle upwards of 100 zombies at any given point, and tossing an explosive their way can result in a huge chain, increasing your score multiplier. The whole point is to rack up points, after all.

Openfeint is also supported in Age of Zombies. For those who may not be familiar with this, it is essentially a trophy/achievement system for mobile devices, available across the Android and iOS platforms. While there is no multiplayer, there are leaderboards to add to replayability. Age of Zombies is currently available on the Verizon Apps store for $2.99, and on the Android Market for $3.20 USD.

PLAY this: If you enjoy dual-stick shooters of any kind, and enjoy comedy in your zombie-killing rampages.

Skip this: If you’re tired of zombie games. That’s pretty much the only reason to skip Age of Zombies.

PLAY This is a new feature focusing on the many titles available on the Xperia PLAY, Sony Ericsson’s new PlayStation Certified smartphone. Have an idea for the next game to be showcased? Leave a comment below or e-mail Paulmichael at