I think I am becoming a puzzle game fan. Not all puzzle games, mind you; I prefer ones that do unique things and manage to include a story. That was what drew me to Containment: The Zombie Puzzler for iOS and Steam. Now our listeners may be a little surprised this title caught my eye as I have mentioned more than once I am not a zombie fan, but something about it really interested me, so when I had a chance to give it a try, I did.
Glad I did, too. While the game is not perfect, Containment is a unique puzzle game that will both challenge you and make you laugh.
An Old Story With a New Twist
The main story of Containment: The Zombie Puzzler is nothing new. A zombie outbreak has started in Franklin County, and those who are not effected have banded together in an attempt to escape the area. The police, military, scientists and local street punks of the area have all teamed up to survive, and it is your job to surround zombies with one of those groups so they can kill the infected before the undead spread the “disease.” If you can take out larger set s of zombies or start chain reactions, you can unlock special attacks which vary based on the survivors you use; police, for example, will give you snipers who can take one zombie out per shot, while punks will give you Molotov Cocktails which will burn anyone in an area, zombie or survivor alike. The primary goal each level is to defeat all the zombies in the area, but there are several levels where you must meet secondary goals as well, including getting power running by surrounding generators with survivors.
As you progress from block to block and area to area, you are given the back story of how things got to where they are and what everyone is trying to do to survive via messages written on the ground. This is actually a really nice touch, giving you something more than just one puzzle after another. It is not the only little addition which helps add to the story; each survivor type has different clever little sayings when they take out zombies, and you even come upon boss battles at the end of each chapter that really ramp things up. Even the types of zombies you face will vary, from the easy, slow moving kind to zombie wizards, which come about when the infected overrun the local ren fair. Bootsnake Games added a lot of levity to both the gameplay and story, and it helps set this puzzle game apart.
Innovative Yet Frustrating Gameplay
As I mentioned before, you have to surround zombies with survivors of the same type to kill them. You have to move relatively quickly, however, as the zombies will try to pass the infection onto other surrounding survivors. Moving survivors involves clicking on one and then clicking on the one you want to move there, and you can move them anywhere on the board, which is nice. While the mouse works well for this, I can see where this game would probably work even better with the touch controls of an iPad, as you have less and less time to react as you advance through the game.
The special attacks in this game can be absolute life savers. Many a level can be turned by a sniper shot used to take out a zombie mage, instead of having to first surround them with the proper colored survivors to remove their magic shields. Bombs which will wipe out entire rows at a time are also useful, and with the exception of the levels where your reinforcements are cut off, there is no penalty for killing survivors along with zombies. Then there are the environmental elements, which include such things as signs you can drop to destroy whole groups of zombies at once. You have to be careful, however, as the results may not always be what you think they should be.
As I mentioned earlier, the further you progress in the game, the less time you have to react to the zombies before they infect too many of your survivors to pass a level. This becomes an issue toward the end, especially during the boss battles at the end of each chapter. I honestly found that I was beating a few of the levels due more to the luck of the placement of the survivors than any skill I developed while playing. Maybe I would feel less that way with the touch screen controls, but it still does become a bit frustrating at the end. Even so, it was rather rewarding to beat the final boss and finally lead the remaining survivors to safety.
Worth It for Puzzle Fans
While Containment is not for everyone, fans of unique puzzle games really should give it a try. At $3.00 on iOS and $5.00 on Steam, you can hardly go wrong, and after seeing just how nice a job Bootsnake Games did with it, I am definitely interested in the company’s next game. Containment: The Zombie Puzzler gets an 8 out of 10.