Indie-Ana Co-Op and Jimmy's Zombie Problem

7/18/2013 at 1:56 PM

When life gets you down, just summon a horde of undead to do your bidding

Jimmy vs Zombies
Genre: Action & Adventure
Available On: XBLIG, PC (Desura)
Co-Op Mode: Local (2 players)
Price: 80 MS Points ($1), $3.89 on Desura
Demo w/ Co-Op Available: Yes

By now, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing zombies in our games. Whether it’s due to some new virus that brings the dead back to life, a biblical reckoning, or just good old fashioned dark magic, the deceased are having a hard time staying in their graves in the gaming world. TOMA (The One Man Army) Game Studio’s Jimmy vs Zombies also sees the undead taking center stage once more, but it takes a slightly different approach to not only their creation, but their destruction as well.

In all of the previously mentioned reasons for the walking dead’s return, many of those hinge upon the whole thing being some accident/science experiment gone wrong or a madman’s plan for world domination. Jimmy vs Zombies keeps it a bit simpler. You see, Jimmy’s got it all. He’s in a rock and roll band, he’s got an awesome girlfriend, and his guitar is the greatest in the land. Unfortunately, Jimmy’s childhood neighbor, Nathan, is jealous of Jimmy, so he does what anyone would do in this type of a situation: he summons an army of zombies to steal Jimmy’s guitar. Don’t lie to yourself and say you haven’t thought about it, we’ve all been there. However, like they used to teach in school, “Winners Don’t Use Unholy Rituals to Raise an Army of the Damned and Steal Someone Else’s Stuff.” (The drugs thing was just catchier).

With the stage set, what exactly are you getting into here? At its core, Jimmy vs Zombies is a side-scrolling survival shooter. You’ll initially be fighting off Nathan’s undead menace by shooting them with your blaster rifle. In a typical level the zombies will come in waves from either side of the screen and you’ll have to blast them all before you take 3 hits. There’s a little bit of level progression between the waves, so your backdrop will change as you fight, and there’s the occasional stack of boxes that can provide some hindrance to the zombies’ progression. Each wave adds more zombie types (e.g., crawlers that you have to kneel to shoot, zombies that take multiple shots to kill) and even some non-zombie enemies like bats. This stays the course for the first level, which does tend to drag a bit, but then you’re driving down a freeway blasting zombies with your hood-mounted blasters, or defending your granny from the zombies. Yep, your granny. Nathan’s villainy knows no limits.

When playing the game solo, the waves of enemies becomes a little overwhelming at times. You have a limited number of turrets at your disposal that you can drop to help fend off any normal zombies that may approach from one site, and a few mines that can clean up any particularly troublesome ones. However, the sheer amount of zombies thrown at you at one time in the later survival waves makes having a second player almost a must. The second player assumes the role of Angela, Jimmy’s girlfriend, and gets his or her own supply of mines and turrets. While these are a welcome bonus, the addition of even a second gun that can jump/crouch as well is what’s needed more. Best of all, having another player join in keeps your score multiplier going, meaning you’ll be racking up more points and gold in no time. The gold can be spent to unlock an additional play mode (Survival), more lives and continues for Jimmy and Angela, faster fire rate, and even alternate outfits for the characters. Unlocking these bonuses gives a little more incentive to replay the game in addition to the more difficult arcade mode that unlocks from completing the game the first time.

As you’ve got your buddy on the couch already, it’s also worth checking out the game’s Versus mode. Here, one player controls Jimmy while the other summons the zombie hordes to defeat him. The player controlling Jimmy does his thing, as usual, while the other player chooses from the array of zombie and other nasties to send at him. If the player controlling the zombies scores three hits on Jimmy before the player determined time limit is reached, he or she wins. Otherwise, Jimmy’s survived yet another day. While not cooperative, it’s definitely a fun game mode and is a nice break from the usual pacing of the game.

Jimmy vs Zombies is a quirky game, to be sure, but it’s also one that’s easy to pick up and play with just about anyone. It’s one of those game where you can just plop down on the couch with a friend, significant other, or teenage kid, and lose track of the time mowing down the undead.

Wrap Up

The Co-Op Experience: Team up with a local co-op partner to fight off the hordes of undead, save your granny, and reclaim Jimmy's guitar
Jimmy vs Zombie is Geared Towards: Side-scrolling shooter fans looking for a slight tower defense element