The hybrid nature of the Switch allows amazing big-name games to be played on the go, but it also allows for short gaming bursts should you find yourself with a few minutes to spare. The modestly-named Amazing Inc. hope to provide one such quick gaming fix with Zombie Gold Rush, a simple game that has you gunning down waves of zombies. Originally released as a free download on mobile in 2016, you can now get it on your Switch in exchange for money - although of course there’s no advertising or in-app purchases.
There are some clues to the game’s mobile origins such as the way a purple fog borders the action, not quite disguising the portrait play area you would get on your phone. Play undocked and you can use touch controls, although this isn’t as effective as the traditional controls available, particularly later on when the action intensifies.
Visually the game has a basic look with simple enemy designs and minimal detail in the surroundings, but this combined with bright colours does at least mean the action is easy to follow. Well, mostly. In the latter stages the every increasing number of explosions can obscure the activity and make you lose track of some enemies.
Gameplay-wise you are given an armed car that sits in place as you gun down the zombie horde that is approaching. Doing so awards you with coins, with further gold available from treasure chests. If the zombies reach you, your energy bar depletes. You are able to fire in 360°, but your vehicle is positioned quite low down the screen so shooting behind you is not done often. As you hold down the fire button your secondary weapon charges up; using said weapon will take out multiple zombies at once, and shooting oil barrels is also an option.
There are few waves to deal with on each stage and between waves you may be given the option to upgrade your weaponry or repair your vehicle. There are a few different zombie types to deal with, but while some require more hits than others, they lumber towards you in very much the same manner. It’s just a matter of shifting your aim slightly to take the ones closest to you, then back to the other side and so on. Flaming zombies are the exception to this rule, moving at a relatively nippy pace and after a few stages falling boulders are also something you’ll need to keep an eye out for.
After the waves have stopped you collect a big chest of gold then drive off as vehicle-driving zombies (yes, you read that right) give chase. Moving scenery and rapid targets give these sections a slightly different feel, but you are still just controlling the gun and ultimately it’s not all that different.
There are five stages in the game, ranging from Easy to Expert, and assuming you’ve collected enough gold, clearing one unlocks the next. You can also use your haul to purchase new vehicles that have different stats and weaponry. There’s a range to choose from (although some aren’t available until you’ve reached certain stages) and these include cars and tanks as well as a couple of wackier options in the form of a skateboard-riding axe-man and an armed Elephant. Funds can also be used to level-up your chosen zombie-destroyer and this is required if you hope to get through all of the stages.
Stages increase in difficulty as you move along and there’s some strategy required as you figure out how best to deal with the approaching groups. That said, simply surviving the onslaught sees you engaged in a lot of samey and not particularly interesting gameplay. There’s a group approaching from the left; mow them down. Group approaching from the right; take them out. More on the left; time to shoot some more of those then. Your reflexes do need to speed up as you progress and numbers increase however, so it isn't a completely dull slog - just a rather repetitive one.
What is a bit more interesting is trying to improve your score as here you look to take out zombies on the periphery (who would otherwise be ignoring you) whilst also finding time to shoot those attacking you. Four UFOs also feature during stages and should you shoot down all of them you’ll be treated to a bonus round of fast-moving zombies allowing for a large score top-up. Trying to set a new high score wouldn’t add too much replayability, but Amazing has included online leaderboards so you can see how you compare with players from around the globe. Rankings are available for each stage as well as each vehicle, so there are a number of scores to chase whether you are a master with the Elephant or specialise in the initial Picnic Truck.
Visually unspectacular, Zombie Gold Rush is saddled with very repetitive action. The game is not devoid of entertainment as there's some fun in figuring out how best to take out as many zombies as possible for a bigger score, and trying to move up the online leaderboards adds some genuine replayability to the package. Ultimately though, while Zombie Gold Rush could be seen as a quick gaming fix, you'd probably be better off doing a Picross puzzle instead.