You'd be surprised just how many online games feature zombies or cats. Zombie Kitten Attack takes the unprecedented step of combining both gaming staples for a puzzler - though perhaps calling this a puzzle game is a misnomer, since Zombie Kitten Attack relies almost entirely on luck and very little on skill.
As the title screen so ably informs us, you play Steve, the star of a bad monster movie. Steve is being attacked by radioactive zombie kittens (without doubt the worst kind of zombie kitten) and must survive for as long as possible. This is what I don't get - you're in a movie, facing zombie kittens. So are these just fake zombie kittens? And if that's the case, why run away? They can't hurt you. Perhaps we're playing Steve's character in the movie? So are we the players being given the responsibility of determining the outcome of the film and its possible sequels? Is the game trying to say something about the blurring of fact and fiction in modern society, how our TVs are chock full of programmes that purportedly show us "real life" events that are as staged and scripted as any soap opera?
Or does the story just suck balls, and the gameplay doubly so?
Regardless, you have to keep away from the cats and try to survive, clicking the mouse to move to an adjacent square, whereupon the cats will do the same. This is where luck comes into play. Since each level is randomly generated, there's no proven strategy for getting through. This means you could just as easily find yourself surrounded by vicious kitties as you could end up with plenty of free space to move around. The cats are constantly moving towards you, and once they land on top of you it's game over. Fortunately, you have a few items to help prevent Steve's untimely demise. Zappers allow you to kill one zombie cat in the near vicinity, allowing you a little breathing space. That is, of course, until another three zombie kittens come along to take its place.
Zombie kittens are also killed if they bump into each other or one of the houses dotted around the playing area. That's right - houses. Turns out if you're ever faced with a radioactive zombie kitty, all you need to do is find the nearest detached suburban home and run around until the little son of a bitch runs head first into it.
Man, not even the Resident Evil movies had something that stupid.
Inevitably I got caught by a group of irate, highly explosive zombie cats and got killed. I write "inevitably" and I mean it. Death is guaranteed, no matter how good you think you are, because Zombie Kitten Attack is not about how well you play games. Rather, it's about how lucky you are, and as far as I can see, you need to be incredibly lucky because I'm Irish and even I couldn't survive very long.
I must say, though, it's to the developers' credit that they don't ever try to get your hopes up. Check out this little paragraph in the help section:
I don't know about you, but I rarely enjoy games in which I'm doomed to fail.
Just then, my luck seemed to pick up. I put this down to sympathetic house placement and my use of the getaway car, which allowed me to get out of a few sticky situations.
Eventually I was even able to develop a kind of strategy, though to be honest it didn't amount to much more than "Run around this house and hope they don't catch you." Still, it was a start.
Considering I only got through Level 1 on a fluke, I didn't have high hopes for my chances on Level 2, and I was right not to feel optimistic. Not only did I have fewer zappers and getaway cars, but I now had to deal with kittens that can hop two squares at a time, meaning they were on me even faster than the last guys.
And so it came to pass that Steve met an unfortunate, bloody, explosive end, and I scored a grand total of 41 points. I wouldn't mind, only I'm not old or a girl. I'm a twenty-four year old virgin who spent his childhood typing out 500 line game code in Basic - I should kick ass at all games. But then, if you're going to make a game that relies solely on whether or not the player has their lucky rabbit's foot nearby, I suppose I shouldn't take it personally.
Zombie Kitten Attack could have been a decent little puzzle game (or adventure game or action game) but the guys at The Code Zone forgot to include the actual puzzle element. Instead we have a random collection of sprites all trying to eat each other and/or explode, which isn't anywhere near as cool as it sounds.