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Daily iPhone App -- Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte is cute, arcade fun

Zoombies is a fascinating little game. It's made by a company called High Voltage that is probably best known for the Conduit shooter series, though they've been making licensed games for years (I remember visiting the studio for a tour back when I lived in Chicago -- they were based out in the Hoffman Estates suburb back then). Zoombies is a title that's been in development there for a while -- it was first considered for the Wii, then possibly for Xbox Live Arcade and finally has seen release on Apple's iOS.

It's easy to see why High Voltage was trying to make this game as a motion control title -- the idea is that you're a kid trying to fight an army of invading undead zoo animals ("Zoo-mbies," get it?), and you are armed with a weapon that you can toss according to a line you've drawn on the screen. Control on the Wii or Xbox would probably have been more direct, but on the iOS touchscreen it means you swipe your finger around, and then the weapon will follow your path. This creates some interesting timing issues -- you want to throw where an animal will be, not where they are. And once you've thrown your weapon, you can't throw it again until it finishes the path, which requires you to keep things as compact as possible.

Zoombies' real charm, however, is in the tone and the art style. The whole game, as you can tell by the subtitle, is done in a joyous sort of Mexican mariachi style, and it just oozes fun. The animals are menacingly cute, the kids are great and every level has plenty of "skull goals," which are super satisfying to complete. Even if you don't like that core line-drawing mechanic, this game is totally charming anyway. Clearly, this was a labor of love for High Voltage, and you can tell they had a lot of fun making the game.

Zoombies is available for US$2.99 on the App Store now, though there are a lot of in-app purchases included, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that price come down sooner if not later. Still, $3 is cheap, so if Zoombies interests you, you might as well grab it right away.

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