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Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes Review

Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes Review

Sometimes the craziest-sounding combinations end up making some damn good results. A zombie defence game mixed with pinball and a roguelike? Sounds odd, but man does it work! In Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes you start the journey as a fire knight with an awesome name, Burnjamin…who, like many heroes in videogames before, has lost his memory. Burnjamin does not have to figure out everything on his own though, as he has a living encyclopaedia as an assistant. Professor Omnipedia is there to teach him all about this post-apocalyptic world where the humans are becoming zombies, and how he can use pinball to defeat them. To find your lost friends and rescue the princess, you will have to battle hordes of cute-looking zombies; they look like they wouldn’t hurt anyone but I assure you that’s just to lull you into a false sense of security. The zombies can be vicious, especially when in huge groups!

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The overworld map is laid out on a board of hexagonal pieces. Each zombie that you are to battle, when hovered over, will show their name, difficulty, the challenge, and what kind of reward you will receive if you are victorious. Every stage takes place on a new board, each matching the theme of that world. Just like in normal pinball, you are trying to hit the ball with the flippers, the difference being that you aren’t just trying to get the most points, but instead you are trying to defeat all the zombies that are coming towards you and your “Pinball Ballista” (like a crossbow that shoots pinballs) to destroy you. If they get too close, you can always hit them with the flippers to toss them back and do damage which is incredibly useful when the ball is in play and not close enough to take them out. There is an endless supply of pinballs at your disposal, but if the ball does fall between the flippers, you will lose some of your HP; once you hit zero then you are defeated. When you are defeated you have to start over from the beginning, but the game is nice and gives you a package of four “Legacy Items” that you can collect at the beginning of your next playthrough to help you out.

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A normal pinball isn’t your only weapon against the hordes of zombies; you can recruit humans and other zombies to help you in your battle. These recruits will stand in the level and hit any of the enemies that get too close to them. Besides these recruits, as you level up, your main character can unlock new abilities. Most of the time you get to choose between two options to select the power that you feel will be more useful to you. At the beginning when you only have the Burnjamin character unlocked, a lot of these attacks are fire themed; however, when you unlock Pennie Princess, the penguin, you get ice-based attacks too! There are multiple power-ups that you can unlock when you level up, including fire moves that burn, freezing ice attacks that slow them down, and lightning attacks that will stun the zombie-enemies; you can equip up to three supports to use while you are in battle. Once you collect enough energy from enemies being defeated you can use one of these aids; keep in mind there is a cooldown period before you can use the attack a second time, so it’s definitely worth trying to stagger when you use them so there is always a support skill ready when you need one. Most of the boards have challenges to defeat all the zombies on the board; once they are taken out, your character will earn XP and level up one of four stats: strength, intelligence, constitution, and luck. You will also be given a grade based on how long it took to clear the board and how much damage you took, which affects how much XP you earn. As you gain levels new characters can be unlocked for you to play as, the first being Pennie Penguin at level 12; the other eight will need you to be at a higher level or complete the task that is required.

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Once you have defeated the enemy, you are taken back to the overworld. Each day is recorded in a journal telling of the events that happened that day. It also keeps track of when the purple zombie plague spreads across the map. If you happen to step on this purple goo your character will take damage, so it’s worth trying to plan out which places you need to go before the plague gets to that spot. It’s not imperative to take out every single enemy, visit all the treasure boxes, or clear every obstacle; the main objective is to get to the portal for that chapter. Though, if you have the time, I do suggest visiting the campfires with survivors as they can teach you skills that you can use in battle, and also the puzzle houses let you earn treasures if you solve the pinball puzzle. If you have gold you want to spend, you can visit the Black Market to purchase items that can recover your HP before the big boss battle.

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Once you walk through the portal you are taken to a little island where you face that chapter's boss; this takes place on a board full of enemies and the main boss. The battle is definitely harder than the weaker zombies you have fought before; make sure you have the support skills you want to use equipped so they are ready to use. Make sure you use them more than once when they are charged up and take advantage of the other flippers that are on the board. Keep an eye out for items on the board that you can interact with such as axes stuck in a stump or buttons on one of the more hidden areas of the board; these can trigger other events that will cause damage to the boss and his army. Apparently zombies don’t like huge balls of water splashing into them! Once you defeat the boss, you are tossed into the portal to head to the next chapter, which will be a totally different theme than the one you just completed.

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The art style in Zombie Rollerz reminds me of something you would see in a newer Plants vs. Zombies game; it's super bright and colourful, with incredibly cute characters. The pinball boards are full of excitement and action, there was never a dull moment! The upbeat music and crisp sound effects fit the game very well, especially with the silly noises the zombies would make when they were hit with the metal pinball. All the main pinball heroes you can choose look really cool and unique; they definitely weren’t reskins of the same base character. It’s clear that a lot of time and effort was put in to make characters that you want to unlock, keeping you playing for a long time.

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I had a great time playing Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes; I have always loved playing pinball and this game captured that feeling and added a ton of crazy chaos to it. Having chapters with maps that are randomly generated each playthrough definitely added to the replayability so it didn’t feel like I was always travelling to the same places. I really appreciated the amount of strategy that was incorporated in the game; it made me stop and analyse the different routes I was going to take and if it really was worth it to go out of my way to get a treasure chest when the route back would be covered with purple slime. This is a game I will be playing a lot more of since I still have a lot of new characters to unlock and try out!

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10.00/10 10

Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)

Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?

Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes is the perfect mix of pinball and roguelike games, with tons of zombies to defeat. Full of non-stop action, tons of unlockables, and a fun colourful artstyle, this is a game you absolutely have to play!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of all games, old and new!

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