The aim of Cowboys Vs. Zombies is to protect your fledgling town against waves of zombies coming in across the desert. Cowboys take the place of ‘towers’ in traditional TD games and, while they can be placed anywhere along the path the zombies are coming down, putting them in specific places on buildings offers added protection from the zombie hordes.
Each zombie killed is worth a $1 bounty and cash can be used to promote cowboys to Deputies and Sheriffs, increasing their range and rate of fire. As you progress through each of the 6 levels shotguns, snipers and dynamite are all opened up to help in the zombie killing and you’ll have to balance retreating to save money for more cowboys versus repairing buildings.
CvZ differs slightly from usual tower defence games in a few ways but in general these aren’t improvements. The first change is the view. There is no traditional top down (or almost top down) view, unstead the view is almost 3rd person, not much higher than head height. Turning the screen pulls back and up but it’s still not far enough to be able to accurately grab and place your units.
Which leads us on to the second issue, the layout. Sacrifices have been made in order to fit onto the small iPhone screen, but with both sides and the top of the screen filled with icons it’s all to easy to grab one of them instead of a cowboy or vice versa. This happened far too often and almost made me give up half way through. Being able to move the camera a bit more may have helped but you’ll fail more often due to this than the actual zombies being a problem.
The whole game actually disregarded conventional wisdom when it comes to these kinds of games, there’s no indication of: damage to buildings/cowboys/zombies, where cowboys can be places, range of units, cost of units, type of damage, cost of units or cost to upgrade, when the next wave’s coming or what it consists of. While it eventually becomes reasonably clear it makes the whole affair far less strategical. Not helped by the fact that the zombies only ever come in a straight line towards you so you are always only guarding on one front.
It’s also a very short game, the 6 levels aren’t very difficult (control issues aside) and once you’ve completed the main game there’s little reason to go back with no endless mode or scores. This may change in future updates as the game does have space for x00 waves but never goes above 30.
For all it’s issues Cowboys Vs. Zombies isn’t without it’s charms, lots of zombies on screen with good looking cartoony characters and I imagine that future updates will go a long way to improving the experience and longevity. Until then if you’re the kind of person who likes to gamble then CvZ is available today only for $0.99 before going up to the normal price of $2.99.
You can keep track of future updates on the official site.