Dead Block Review


How can we describe this game in a single sentence? Tower Defense with a 3rd Person camera that has you fight against a horde of zombies. I LOVE Tower Defense games, have a keen understanding of why zombies make any game better and was curious to see if a deep fried and chocolate covered peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be as awesome as it sounds. Turns out it IS!

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Are you good enough to survive a Zombie Armageddon? Don’t panic! Use your brain first and if necessary your sledgehammer. Dead Block is a 3rd person zombie themed arcade game with a unique mix of action, humor and strategy.

Set in the US during the idyllic 1950s, Dead Block takes players to a simpler time when a gallon of gas cost a few pennies, the “golden age” of cinema was in full swing, and that new (and apparently insanely evil) craze called rock n’ roll swept the nation—and caused an apocalyptic musical plague to turn the deceased into the walking dead!

As one of three survivors of the shuffling zombie onslaught – Boy Scout Mike Bacon, construction worker Jack Foster, and no-nonsense meter maid Foxy Jones, each with their own unique “Smart Bomb” attack – players will fortify their area by boarding up windows and setting a variety of unique unlockable traps, collect items and power-ups, take on zombies one-on-many with a variety of upgradeable weapons, and even rock them to shreds with awesome guitar power!

* A humoristic gameplay mix of killing zombies and tactical defense.
* Kill zombies in unusual and entertaining ways: install unique traps, employ devious tactics and fight the intruders with smart bombs and melee weapons.
* Tactical defense gameplay: defend from zombies by building blockades, gathering resources and switching between all 3 characters.

There’s two types of levels available and while the core mechanics are the same, the final goal of each one s a tad different:

* In one you must fin all 3 parts of the guitar equipment needed to rock out at the end of the level so you can put all zombies to twist and shout so you can complete the level. The parts are found by searching items and when one is found a roulette starts and you have to hit the X button at the right time to stop it. Once you find all parts, how do you rock at the end of the stage? Why, on a sideways Guitar Hero style grid!

* The other one ask you to kill X number of zombies so you can activate a new piece of equipment engineered to help against the zombie onslaugh: the Zomb-O-Matic 9000! These levels have A LOT of zombies attacking you at the same time so you better be good at managing all the traps (more on that below) you’ve set for them to perish and enter the eternal undead sleep of the dead but not quite dead!

To build a blockade, you just walk to a window or door and press the X button which will in turn trigger a sequence where you can accelerate how fast it is built by pressing the X button again at the right time. Do keep in mind that you require wood to build them (and you can see how much you have on the bottom left corner of the screen which is why you must constantly destroy all furniture around you yo gather up new pieces. This is done by constantly tapping the circle button until there’s nothing standing before you… or is there? Sometimes you can find items inside destroyed cabinets which have to be searched by alternating between the L2 and R2 buttons to speed things up or use them to move around an onscreen hand to pick up a key or a coin between all the garbage around it. It is important that you remember that you can call your companions to your current location by holding L1 but you have to be cautious as to not use it when they’re surrounded by zombies as you risk them not attacking and being slaughtered.

We have Easy, normal and hard difficulties to choose from and you can do level select to obtain all the medals from the levels (they’re bronze, silver and gold depending on the difficulty)… and you need all gold medals on all levels for the final trophy! Difficulty changes how hard zombies hit you, how fast you search items and how easy it is to build traps and barricades. For example, building a freeze trap with Jack means you’ve got to hold down the X button until the trap is completed BUT if you change the difficulty to hard you’re told to alternate between that and holding another button by itself as well before going BACK to holding X until the trap is complete. Might not seem like such a huge deal but when you’ve got 10 zombies behind you with 10 more trying to enter the room you’re currently standing in and have to decide which door to place the trap at as you don’t have time to do all that button pressing… things get hectic FAST!

Traps require parts which are found by searching items and you can even repair them after some heavy use by the growing zombie population but this, again, requires you to have enough parts for said task. You’ve got three traps available for each character (the Wood Blockade is universal) and you can select which one to install by using the D-pad to make things faster.

The coins you might find while searching items can be used for one of two things: to buy a full health recovery drink from vending machines or to power up a jukebox that will play the rock of the dead and make zombies dance, dance, dance until they can’t dance no more… and explode! Should you NOT have coins you don’t have to worry TOO much as your health will slowly (very slowly) regenerate if no zombies are hitting you for a while.

What can you do if you’ve got no parts to build traps or if you’ve run out of wood and the next zombie wave has just started to make it’s way into the place? You COULD try melee combat (hit R1 and start the magic!) but this is the least efficient way to kill zombies. You may kill a single zombie by melee, but even small groups of zombies are a serious threat! But wait, there’s more! Should you be lucky enough to find a TV Antenna you can use that to make the TV in the level work again… mmm, what good is watching TV while the zombies eat my brain? Well, it turns out that Zombies LOVE TV! You’ll be able to keep about 5 zombies glued to the tube so it’s not like no more zombies will bother you ever again but it DOES help you out more than you can imagine. Another handy option is to leave a nice, juicy piece of steak on the heather so our zombies friends can enjoy it… until they’re electrocuted that is!

Once you find a new trap or update your “Smart Bomb” attack (remember, your Smart Bomb will be available again until the bar fills up!) you’ll be able to use it right from the start of the next level… well, as long as you find enough trap parts as the newer traps require more and more of them but are completely worth it. Here’s a list of all traps available for each character (after a spoiler tag as to not ruin anyone’s experience):

[spoiler intro="Traps make the world go round" title="WARNING. Zombies up ahead!"]

Jack’s Traps:

* Frost Trap: Freezes passing zombeis. Frozen Zombies thaw! Hit them before they do so and you’ll break them into a million pieces with just the one hit. Be sure to repair these often as they’ll save you more than once!

*Helmet Trap: Helmet zombies smash furniture! If you’re just entering a room FULL of furniture just set one of these on the window and another on the door and see how they do your job.

* Concrete Blockade: The immortal blockade! No zombie will ever break this so you should place it where it will help you the most. Cost a LOT of parts so don’t waste it! Wonder why they never do this in zombie movies…

Mike’s Traps:

*Cardboard Trap: Drops boxes on zombies. Boxed zombies get attacked by all other zombies AND hit back which makes them very helpful in crowded rooms.

* Sunbed Trap: Amplified UV radiation ages zombies into weak old zombies. This one is GREAT when you start running into stronger zombies that can kill you in 5 seconds flat in the later levels while playing in hard mode.

* Toilet Trap: Infects zombies who spread the disease and die slowly! Place one near a door when you see a lonely zombie walking your way while you’re being chased by a group of 10 and see how they all get this and wither into a pulp!

Foxy’s Traps:

* Rolling Pin Trap: Removes half of the remaining health of a zombie. Not as useful as her other traps but when it’s the only thing you got, you’ve got to use it!

Microwave Trap: Electrocutes passing zombies… and makes them even deader! One shot kill ANY zombie with this very expensive trap!

* Bomb Trap: Explodes when zombies break through. It doubles as a blockade which can help you stop zombies from entering a room you’ll explore while at the same time making them stand behind it just waiting for it to go….. BOOOOOOOOOOOM!

[/spoiler]

Controlling all 3 characters at once can feel a but daunting at first but eventually you’ll be jumping back and forth between all of them. You have to consider what the main expertise of each one is so you can leave them in a room that can exploit said trait to it’s fullest. In case you haven’t figured it out, Jack is great at breaking down furniture, Mike excels at searching items and Roxy can destroy zombies FAST… but since you don’t want to leave her on a room filled with zombies all by herself you can put her in an item filled room as well since she does the searching right.

There’s a special power-up you should be looking for all over the place since it really makes a huge difference in an instant. What does it look like? A Shining Light! Once you touch it you’ll run faster, repair traps in a heartbeat, search like there’s no tomorrow and break down furniture just by looking at it (ok, that last one is not true. You have to hit furniture two times instead of a whole lot more). And zombies? What zombies? When you grab the shining light you can kill them in 2 seconds which is great for the those moments when you forget to repair a blockade and the room has been filled with the undead.

Now, for those trophy hunters out there, let’s talk again about medals. If you want the medals trophy you need to be playing in hard which really isn’t that hard in the first 3-4 levels. What do you get medals for? Breaking ALL furniture, searching ALL items, killing X amount of zombies and NOT DYING AT ALL. That last one is what takes the most effort (especially when managing all three characters) as going for all four medals at the same time will take a LOT of work and you’re better off shooting for the first tree and then redoing the level just for the ” Don’t die” medal since you don’t need to break everything and only have to meet the minimum requirement for the level.

There’s also Multiplayer content for your entertainment which is local-only (yes, yes, you online-only fans are about to throw a hissy fit) and to me it makes it easier to actually coordinate with other players without any delay and work together as a proper team to stop the zombie apocalypse, one location at a time. Multiplayer is a nice extra but if you’re not into that then the single player campaign will be enough to justify your purchase.

Review

ProsCons
Tower Defense with zombies... in the 3rd Dimension!
Great content for only $9.99
So 50s it's good!
AI can mess up your medal attempts once in a while
Rating
91%

Developed by Candygun Games
Published by Digital Reality

Cost – $9.99


* You can buy a Level Pack on the PSN store for the game that brings new levels for both single and multiplayer.

Disclaimer

- Game was completed and all trophies obtained.
- Total amount of time played: 18 hours.
- This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Dead Block provided by Digital Reality.

Want to get this game? Then you can:

Buy a $20 PSN Card!

Buy a $50 PSN Card!


Written by: EdEN - PR / Contributing Editor


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  1. #1 by Cheeto on August 11th, 2011

    Good review Eden, the game looks decent, Local multi-player is a bet of a hassle if you ask me. What if I don’t have any local friends to play with? ha? lol no seriously! lol

  2. #2 by Oly on August 11th, 2011 [ 131640 Points ]

    Fun game for sure.. def worth the $9.99.

  3. #3 by Oly on August 11th, 2011 [ 131640 Points ]

    Dead Block giveaway is imminent!

  4. #4 by EdEN on August 11th, 2011 [ 131365 Points ]

    @Cheeto: Go out and ask anyone on the street uf they would like to join you in some zombie bashing and see what a great response you’ll get!

  5. #5 by Pixolator on August 11th, 2011 [ 573 Points ]

    me wants to win a code

  6. #6 by EdEN on August 11th, 2011 [ 131365 Points ]

    @Pixolator: Then you should stay tuned to know the details!

  7. #7 by Pedro on August 12th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Nice review Eden, this is really different from what I expected ;p

    Let me ask you one thing though, does the button pressing gets tiring? I hate games where I have to go crazy on my controller, makes my hand hurt ;p

  8. #8 by EdEN on August 12th, 2011 [ 131365 Points ]

    @Pedro: You’d imagine it WOULD, right? It never bothered me and I played the game for 18 hours so you can rest assured that it’s not a problem at all.

  9. #9 by chronorayven on August 14th, 2011 [ 20584 Points ]

    Game looks unique enough. Might be fun to try this one later.

  10. #10 by EdEN on August 15th, 2011 [ 131365 Points ]

    @chronorayven: You can enter the giveaway for the game and in case you don’t win you should definitely buy it.

  11. #11 by chronorayven on September 20th, 2011 [ 20584 Points ]

    @EdEN I’d buy this game when it goes on sale. Now I just have to wait for that sale. :)

  12. #12 by EdEN on September 20th, 2011 [ 131365 Points ]

    Know what you mean. Game is very fun even at full retail so hopefully you’ll get to enjoy it eventually!


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