Zombie Samurai Review

By , on November 2, 2011

Zombie Samurai
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Classic castle defense gameplay paired with classic screen-slicing controls.
  • Surprising amounts of detail when it comes to slicing each zombie.
  • Amusing interludes/touches added in to the campaign.


  • Combo system lacks an intuitive feel; hard to know if/when it will continue.
  • Characters overlap and move at the same speed, making it all too easy to kill 'innocents'.
  • Easy to get behind the curve on earning 'coins'; needlessly encourages you to use IAP.


Zombie Samurai brings back a genre that seemed all but missing from the App Store of late and adds a fun and simple slicing system to keep you invested in the action.

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Jumping in to Zombie Samurai by Eye Interactive and Alawar Entertainment almost immediately took me back - not to some distant childhood memory of gaming, but rather to the beginning of my iOS gaming when castle defense titles roamed the landscape like large lumbering behemoths that you couldn't escape. Sure, we see shadows of this rarefied beast now and then in other titles, but this game brings back the genre lock, stock and barrel, perhaps as a reminder of why we've moved on.

The premise is simple, if couched within a rather odd setting of psuedo-ancient Asian environment (with zombies). Your task is to defend the dojo from wave after wave of zombies, allowing innocent citizens to seek shelter (for a healthy bonus) while spending coins earned from your exploits on either repairing the dojo or adding to its defenses (albiet with temporary structures).

To do away with said zombified foes all you need to do is to cause them harm via swiping the screen, either decapitating them, splitting them in twain vertically or simply cutting them in two across the torso. Should you manage to kill another zombie with the next strike or two you'll maintain a combo, adding to your score and coin collection though you'll have to watch out for 'explosive' zombies that will damage everything near them if cut incorrectly.

In the story mode this continues until you reach its eventual conclusion (should you survive), unlocking an 'endless' mode for more gameplay. New zombies with tricks such as parachuting in or firing themselves at the dojo with cannons can make finishing the game a challenge (especially on the first run where you're bound to spend your money 'wrong'), but it's an otherwise simple task - if a laborious one.

The problem is that that game just takes too long to become interesting and by the time it does you're either decked out with a near zombie-proof dojo or fighting tooth and nail just to stay alive - there's no real balance that feels satisfying. It's a problem common to the genre as players either master its mechanics or scratch their heads in confusion.

If you're after some classic castle defense gameplay and don't mind offsetting the usual concerns by enjoying the slick presentation, then Zombie Samurai is worth a shot.


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