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Thursday 17 October 2013

Pirates Vs. Zombies review - Mix of Three Most Popular Ingredients

Pirates Vs. Zombies is another game in a nowadays very popular genre that could be defined as an off-shoot of artillery games - the slingshot games. It all started long time ago and people will argue with what game, but everyone agrees that the most popular game of the genre is Angry Birds.

So what does this game bring new to the genre? First of all it changes the scenery to a tropical region where pirates are looking for burried treasure only to find the islands infested with zombies. Everybody seems to like pirates, zombies and shooting stuff, and that's a good reason to put them in one game together!

But Pirates Vs. Zombies has more to offer. While the gameplay is pretty much standard in this genre, the range of weapons at your disposal is quite innovative. Apart from traditional and advanced projectiles shot from a cannon on a ballistic trajecory, you can use a remote controlled parrot or shoot the zombies from a rifle or shotgun by commanding one of the pirates on the ship. It of course depends on what weapons you have in each level.

The standard cannon ball works pretty much as expected. The zombie guys are bound to have a really bad day...

The brave parrot here is in fact a bomber carrying a deadly package of, erm, rum... I guess it should have been a barrel of gun powder instead!

Interview with the developers

One of the things I enjoy the most while reviewing games is to talk to the devs. If you don't want to read it, scroll down to conclusion. If you are an aspiring game developer, read on. I had a chance to do an interview with Sebastian, the developer behind Pirates Vs. Zombies and member of Piggsl, a two man game dev studio. Sebastian is going to give a few tips!

I saw you already made a zombie game before, can you maybe describe it a little bit?

It’s called “World of Death”. You have some kind of catapult to shoot at the zombies. However the levels are no “castles” which you have to destroy but rather some kind of puzzles to solve. You have to focus much more on where you shoot to solve the levels.

Pirates Vs. Zombies look so much better. What has changed since last time?

While “World of Death” was programmed and designed by me (and I am a really bad artist), I had some help from a great artist and friend this time. We had a strict separation between coding and designing and that was a really great idea. Also the effort we spent on Pirates Vs Zombies was much more than in “World of Death”.

What have you reused from your last game?

The code for the ragdolls and some other things which are related to box2d [the physics engine used].

You are now an experienced developer. What worked for you, what didn't in general?  Any advice for aspiring Indie developers who never made a game?

There are three really important things if you are a good coder to make a good game: You need a good idea, a good artist (if you are a bad one like me) and the right technology/engine.

If you have a good game, then it is important to do the right marketing in order to generate downloads. If you just upload it to the Play Store you will get about 20 downloads, and that is you and your friends.

So which technology/engine did you use?

I used libgdx, a good engine/OpenGL wrapper. It also supports the actor/stage-pattern and box2d and shows high performance. It gives you more freedom in the way you design your entities and is closer to OpenGL then AndEngine but it also takes more effort.

What kind of promotion are you using for your game if any?

I posted it on several forums and started an “In House Campaign” [an advertising campaign when you use your own ad space to promote your other products]. So I do some promotion in my own apps (with Admob and some self-coded banners). Currently I am working on setting up a paid Admob Campaign.

How much rum was used during making this game? :)

Because we are developers from Bavaria, we didn’t use any rum. We used beer. A lot of beer. ;-)


Pirates Vs. Zombies is one of the funniest games in this genre. If you get bored with irritated fowls go and claim the treasure from the zombies. Arrr!

Available for free in Google Play Store.
Martin Varga is a Czech software developer who likes pygmy owls (hence Kulíš), running, ramen, travelling and living in foreign countries. He is also known as smartus or sm4 on the internet (read as smartass, but there are too many of them). He currently tries to make games in AndEngine like Mr. Dandelion's Adventures and hangs around a lot at the AndEngine forums.