Format reviewed: PS3 (PSN Store)
Other formats available: PSP
Developer: Laughing Jackal
OMG-Z is the latest game from serial Playstation mini developer Laughing Jackal and it's easily their best yet. OMG-Z (Oh My God, Zombies) is a puzzle game with a twist, the twist being it looks nothing like a puzzle game. There are 200 levels, each level has a certain amount of zombies of differing styles (normal, police zombie, fat zombie etc) and it is your goal to kill every zombie on the level with only a few bullets at your disposal. You do this by chain reactions, when you kill a zombie it has a specific effect - normal zombies will kill another zombie nearby, fat zombies explode and police zombies fire a bullet; acid zombies (leave a pool of acid) and army zombies (sprays bullets) finalise the list; with this in mind you start strategising how to kill 50 zombies using only 3 bullets.
The game is extremely simple, but incredibly addictive. There are 4 trophies to collect on each level (bronze, silver, gold and when you kill all zombies on a level platinum) and for each trophy you get money, which you use for a variety of upgrades (Laughing Jackals beloved formula) - you can buy extra bullets, more powerful bullets, explodable canisters, more powerful zombie deaths and such, with then makes completing the levels easier. What ends up happening is that realistically you can only do so well in a level until you upgrade, which then makes the levels easier, and although it is slightly frustrating skill plays a secondary role, it is extremely satisfying when you clear a stage with one well placed, and well timed bullet.
Although the chain reaction gameplay is a lot of fun, it is disappointgly shallow. The zombies move completely at random, meaning it's hard to perfect a technique, and the combos you build up in the chain reactions are meaningless. Yes it's satisfying killing every zombie with one bullet, but to the game it's no different to killing them all with all of your available bullets; this is disappointing. The game would have much more replay value if the combos affected a high score which would give you something to aim for, but once you get a platinum trophy, there's no incentive to go back. It's a shame as it's such fun and so easy to implement, it would have added a lot more to the package.
Overall though, the game still offers a lot of value for your £2.49. The 200 levels are not easy to complete and it's highly addictive and fun as you blast your way through. The presentation is pretty bad, it looks pretty bad if nicely styled and the sounds and music rape your ears; but they do little to detract from the game. One thought I constantly had whilst playing this title though, was that it was on the wrong platform. The gameplay is crying out for a touchscreen display - the game would work so much better on the 3DS, smartphones or Vita; and I strongly suggest they port the game over. And if they added a highscore feature and improved the presentation, then I'd certainly not hesitate to playing through it again.