Zombies! Teenagers! Turns out there's a difference. It's implicit in the title of Ignition's latest DS release, Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys!
If there weren't a difference, surely Ignition wouldn't have bothered to tell us the protagonists of this platformer were both. Did I just betray the fact that I haven't been a teenager for five years now? I suspect that I did...
Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys!
, for the uninitiated, is a mash-up of B-movie, retro sci-fi and comics influences all bound together in a tidy little DS package.
Things get under way with a sequence that turns the DS on its side to mimic the pages of a comic. The comics fan within me was instantly warmed. The sequence (and those that follow the style at later points in the game) works well, with the lack of space for each panel being made up for by speech bubbles that fade in and out over a static image. I didn't quite fall off my chair and into a pool of my own laughter-induced urine, but it was amusing and dodged being condescending. Score one for Teenage Zombies.
So, as the aforementioned intro tells us, Alien Brain Thingys have descended onto our fair blue orb. They've done a right good job of conquering it, too. Despite the fact that these guys are just gelatinous brains propelled around by various means inside glass jars, the world's military was apparently unable to deal with them. All hope is not lost, however! Fortunately, zombies like to eat brains. Even more fortunate is the fact that three of them (all of an adolescent persuasion) just clawed out of the soil and eager for a snack.
This is where the player steps in for a spot of side-scrolling, jumpy fun.
The game introduces you gently to its inner-workings. You have three zombies at your disposal: Finnigan 'Fins' Magee, Lori 'Lefty' Lopez and Zack 'Halfpipe' Boyd. Each one of them has their own special talents.
Fins has tentacles coming out of his back (I didn't get the memo about zombies getting tentacles, somewhere a head's going to roll) which enable him to climb walls and shimmy along rails. Unfortunately he's pretty porky, so he can't jump very high or move very quickly.
Lefty's really tall, so she can jump and reach places your other guys can't get to.
Halfpipe (whose nickname, it should be observed, is appalling) can sweep down slopes and off ramps using his skateboard, as well as scooch through small gaps. He also happens to be a bit faster than the others.
The basic control scheme for Teenage Zombies
is mapped to the D-pad and your four buttons. It's nothing unusual for a side-scrolling platformer and is explained by comic-style captions (that also form part of the level). So, with the basics down pat, off you shuffle.