Review: Z-Run (PlayStation Vita)

Z-Run: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation Vita 1,270 view 0 likes 3 comments
Reviewed by Derek Bortz, posted Jul 2, 2014
Jul 2, 2014
  • Release Date (NA): May 20, 2014
  • Release Date (EU): May 20, 2014
  • Publisher: Beatshapers
  • Developer: Beatshapers
  • Genres: Infinite Running
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Infinite running with zombie filled streets, what could go wrong?
Derek Bortz

Zombie Runner

Z-Run comes hot on the heels of the recent boom in gaming known as the "infinite running" games. The most popular being Temple Run, a fast paced, obstacle dodging, see-how-far-you-can-get game. Z-Run does what any developer would do, take the original idea and try to make it better. Well, taking cues from just about every failing movie in Hollywood and other passable game franchises, Beatshapers makes the obvious move of making a zombie running game. 

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The concept sounds pretty good on paper. What, other than beating them, are you going to do in a city full of zombies? Run. Creating this world almost needs no imagination, really. Fill the city streets with zombies, add checkpoints and obstacles, and give you a goal to make it out of the city. You start levels off with a full HP and Stamina bar. You lose health by running into obstacles or getting mauled by a passing brain sucker. Stamina fuels your ability to sprint, jump, roll dodge and jump kick enemies. Scattered thoughout the levels are the occasional blunt weapons you can grab to cave some skulls in. Swining a weapon takes stamia, and a successful hit reduces the number of times you can use a weapon before it breaks. Soda cans scattered around the streets can be scavenged to refill your two gauges. You can also find guns and crossbows with limited ammo which is easily the most effective way of dispatching the evil dead.

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The game progresses as you make your way downtown, kicking zombies, hopping caution markers, and collecting items. After you finish a level you are sometimes given a choice on the map screen as to which street you go down next, but this doesn't have much bearing on how the game progresses. Especially considering there is no story what-so-ever to be spoken of, so your progression path means basically nothing other than a possible slight change in scenery. 

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Verdict
Pros
+ Decent ideas
+ Great character models
+ Good feel to the gameplay
Cons
- Too slow to be an infinite runner
- Clunky and heavy feel, far too heavy for a running game
- Poor level design mechanics
- Slow response to controls
- Poor zombie spawner points
6 Presentation
When you enter Z-Run, you get what you expect. A dreary, rundown zombie ridden city. The graphics are actually pretty good, with average renders of cars and abandoned buildings. Your characters are well designed and animated, and the soundtrack is appropriate if only bearable.
3 Gameplay
After doing so well in the presentation department, this is where Z-Run drops the ball for good. For a runner to be successful, you should feel like you are almost moving too fast to deal with, which is why they make quick bite-sized phone games, not a vita exclusive. The biggest issue with the game is the most important. You are slow. You almost feel like a zombie. Every move you make you pay for with precious seconds of your life. Sprinting forward only make things worse because you are probably putting yourself into more danger, just faster. Weapons are unwieldy and a waste of time. You are better off using the jump kick simply for the slight homing motion it makes. Even though you are slow, I have been killed because there isn't enough finesse in the controls to allow for slight changes in your trajectory. There are trucks that you need to slide under, but you better be lined up. Off to one side just enough and you will run into it, stagger, and do it all over again, until you are out of life. Zombies spawn at random on every stage, either leaving you free and clear for large portions of the street or cluttering up vital jumping or landing points, ending your run. I have been mauled to death unfairly by badly placed jumps and a single waiting zombie.
2 Lasting Appeal
If you can make it out of the tutorial levels without dying, you might stand a chance, if you finish this game, you deserve a medal, because the reward on offer is simply not worth it.
3
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Don't bother picking this up. While the presentation is there, the rest is not. There isnt much else to say, just avoid this like you would a zombie apocalypse.
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