Armor Games is a platform for new and upcoming games which don’t require multi-sample anti-aliasing or ambient occlusion and diffusion DirectX shader capabilities; Toge Productions, an Indonesia-based indie game developer posted a game on Armor Games entitled Infectonator, which gained huge popularity, quickly becoming one of the most recognisable names on the site. With the power, might and probably money of Armor Games behind it, Toge Productions managed to publish an iOS and Android-friendly version of the game’s updated successor, Infectonator 2.
However, for the sake of being confusing, this iOS/Android version is simply titled Infectonator.
Infectonator is a puzzle and simulation game based around the idea of a zombie apocalypse in which you control the zombie hordes that gradually invade major cities around the world, from Sydney to Vancouver. You send these zombies into the city siply by tapping certain units and placing them wherever you want on the screen. The population of each city determines the number of humans your zombies are required to kill in order to overrun the area; obviously having several million on-screen citizens just isn’t possible with the limitations of pretty much all gaming technology so the citizens number in the low hundreds. These citzens can either be killed by infecting the surrounding NPCs or just eating their brains and leaving their corpses on the side of the road.
The mechanics to depth ratio of Infectonator is simply brilliant – there is so much to explore just from purchasing and upgrading your zombie squads; your zombies range from large, slow, heavy-duty characters to more iconic and instantly recognizable ones such as Michael Jackson. Each zombie type comes with a particular skill that will strategically aid you when trying to fully destroy a town. You can then upgrade particular aspects of the zombies such as speed or infection rate, which really allows for a great deal of customization in what is otherwise a rather simple game.
There’s also a section dedicated to support items such as grenades or goo which you can manually purchase with the coins you collected throughout each invasion – because even zombies have a system of economics – in order to help you in combatting the policemen, soldiers, FBI agents and everyone else that will strive to take down your zombies. The customization doesn’t even end there – you even have control over the little things such the female reporter’s attire worn at the end of each invasion, who she recaps the death toll, infected toll, etc. It’s not important, but it’s a nice touch.
Infectonator provides you with a huge breadth of gameplay time considering its simplicity; you can complete the basic story in just over 2 hours, after which you are offered a hardcore mode which gives you even more of a challenge. Infectonator is seemingly endless, but thanks to this heavy customization each invasion feels different to the last one you had completed.
Speaking of completion, each city has 2 different states: one is ‘attacked’, where you have completed the basic requirement of killing the minimum number of civilians to unlock the next city; the second state is ‘destroyed’ which appears only if you complete the 4 objectives given. Each city will have a variety of objectives, which can be anything from killing everyone in a certain amount of time, to killing particular ‘bosses’ that pop up from time to time. Our only complaint would be the repetitiveness of these objectives throughout each city – it would have been nice to see some more location-based tasks, which would (ironically) breath more life into the missions, rather than repeating the same objective, city after city.
The crisp detail in the characters and the almost cute graphical style makes Infectonator really relaxing to play; despite the pixel-art, Infectonator is very similar to Minecraft in that respect. Unfortunately, the occasional glitch will happen if you try to spawn zombies next to an obstacle, but beside that the graphics are pretty flawless; the animations are both accurate and responsive, and lag is practically non-existent apart from the occasional game-freeze (which was easily rectified by pausing and unpausing the game).
Another criticism we have is that the audio lacks variety. This is nit-picking though considering that Toge Productions don’t have the budgets Bethesda had for Skyrim, and you could easily level the same accusation at your average guard’s knee. Having said that, the soundtracks that are available to you are rather catchy, and they do gradually grow on you; they constantly remind us of some of the classic Gameboy Color games’ soundtracks which were simple 8-bit audio perfection.
Infectonator is certainly a good game and has a great deal of potential for expansion in the future; more levels, more zombies, more challenges and more bloodshed could be added tot he game, but as it’s fast approaching Infectonator’s 2-year App Store anniversary. There are a few rough edges on Infectonator which could very easily be refined and some new content updates along the way would have been more than favourable.
(Editor’s note: The trailer above is for the web-version of the game rather than the iOS version. The iOS version runs far smoother than that of the trailer.)
Infectonator definitely brings a fresh perspective to the zombie genre, and has given an insight into how popular this novel take on zombie survival from the zombie’s point of view can be. Perhaps this is a genre which we could see becoming more popular in future. Whilst Toge Productions have worked on a couple of spin-offs, such as Infectonator: Hot Chase, it would be fantastic to finally see a sequel.