At Nintendo Life, we very much doubted that anyone expected a great deal from Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ. The title sounded like it would attract a very immature audience, and the box art didn't exactly inspire casual gamers to buy it either. So imagine how surprised we were when we played the game to find, not a dull and dreary title, but an addictive and deep action game. Spanish developer EnjoyUp has built a humorous and stylish game that makes full use of the DS’ capabilities to deliver an experience that can’t be found anywhere else – teaching us to never judge a book by its cover!
Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ is set in the magical land of Storyland: a world that is divided into several areas, each representing various classic fairytales. Little-‘Ready To Rock’-Red Riding Hood grew up in one of these areas – a forest, where she spent the majority of her time visiting her old grandmother and scavenging for food. Be warned though; this isn’t the Little Red Riding Hood you grew up with, the sweet hooded girl is not so innocent here: she loves to play rough, citing “collecting weapons” as one of her favourite hobbies.
The premise behind the story is fairly simple: Momotaro, Little Red’s friend who was born from a giant peach one day, has embarked on over a thousand and one adventures that varied from fighting off monsters to collecting treasure. Little Red decides to tag along with Momotaro, and together they set out on an adventure to fight through invading armies of zombies and dishing out some char-grilled killin’
Just like the story, the gameplay is easy to grasp: hordes of zombies pour down from the DS’ upper screen, and it is up to either Red or Momotaro to shoot them down. Instead of freely moving up and down or left and right, your character is restricted to seven tiny squares at the bottom of the screen. To manoeuvre about these squares, players use either the D-pad or stylus. Firing is accomplished by holding down the stylus anywhere on the bottom screen, as long as it isn’t any of the player’s squares. You fire weapons in bursts and must keep an eye on ammo levels, which are replenished when you release the stylus to reload. By touching the character on screen you can also cause them to duck from projectiles.
After successfully making their way through the level, players will be faced by a level boss – represented by a character from a classic fairytale. Remember the three little pigs whose houses kept getting destroyed? Well they are back for revenge now, and have brought along with them a tank so that they can take Little Red and Momotaro down. Our heroic characters overcome the perils thrown at them by the pigs and many other fantasy villains if they are to hope for a fairytale ending.
What’s great about the Zombie BBQ is that it’s not only fun to play, but it is also fun to watch: the title stands strong as one of the best examples of hand-drawn art on the DS, with a lot of emphasis on details and shading. The amount of detail that can be found in every nook and cranny of the game is amazing: blood drips out of character’s mouths, killer dolls have eyes missing, and so on. It is fabulous to see how much time the developers spent with the game to make it feel complete while pushing the DS to its graphical limits. The game offers some (intentionally) funny voice-work too, but sadly there isn’t a great deal of it.
Despite our praise, Zombie BBQ isn’t perfect: there is a distinct lack of checkpoints where you can save the game, which adds to the difficulty – often to the point of causing frustration; and the frame-rate frequently drops when there are large numbers of zombies on the screen. Putting these complaints aside, Zombie BBQ is still a fantastic portable game.
Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ may be a rather simplistic shooter, but the game offers plenty of depth. While serious shooter fans will not be spending much of time with this game, everyone else will likely get some good playtime out of it. For a budget title, Zombie BBQ is a steal that deserves to be kept from sinking into obscurity.