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MMObility: Parallel Zombies is PerBlue's best game yet


I have to be honest: I'm sick of zombies. I know, I know, it's the cool genre that's sweeping even the evening news, but I'm as excited about new zombie games as I am about a pop in the nose. It's probably just a light case of burnout, though, because there are still some frightening (and fun!) zombie games, movies and stories cropping up occasionally. I will always reference my Western example: In a movie set in the old West, you can expect to see some guns, a few horses, and possibly a large hat or three. These common props do not always distract us from a good story. Zombies are props too. What the writer or developer does with the story or game is really what matters.

PerBlue, maker of Parallel Kingdom, Parallel Mafia, and now Parallel Zombies, has steadily increased the production value of each one of its titles. This new one takes the design in an entirely unique direction, combining standard location-based gameplay with non-stop action.

Parallel Zombie screenshot
Although Parallel Zombies still has that new-game scent, I can already tell I am going to enjoy myself. It's rare to find a mobile MMO that offers the sort of action that rarely stops. You're lucky to catch a breath, much less stop running and gunning long enough to know what's going on. Once I made a character and loaded in, I was soon gunning down hordes (and I do mean hordes) of different zombie types. You fire your weapons or swing an axe with the push of a button in real time. Ammo runs out, and even the gas for the chainsaw runs out eventually. Sure, you can buy more fuel, ammo, armor and crafting elements in the cash shop, but the real fun is blasting zombies and picking up the bits they drop.

OK, the game isn't just non-stop shooting. You actually come across other players and NPCs and need to help on dynamic missions. While the gameplay isn't quite as dynamic as a game like RIFT (heck, RIFT's gameplay isn't as dynamic as a game like RIFT), you can simply fall in some NPC's lap and decide to help him or leave him to fend for himself. You can even hear the far-off sounds of gunfire and see the speech bubbles of NPCs as they taunt zombies. You follow the taunting and there you are, right in the middle of a firefight.

I'm not sure what the real-world location has to do with gameplay yet, but I did find plenty of signs that would allow me to travel to other locations near me. I was often tasked with defending the area and even had to man larger gun nests that did nothing but spit death for many, many minutes. I could jump into one of these odd-looking piles of garbage and just mow down so. Many. Zombies. So many. The sound of the machine gun had a nice chunky feel to it. Ah, sweet destruction.

Parallel Zombies screenshot
I found a lot of buildings that held quest-givers inside. I would go inside, able to see only thanks to the beam of a flashlight, and would fight my way to some hidden victim. A lot of the time I would need to locate a key and unlock doors to find my way, but I never felt as if I was in too much danger. Instead, I was just having fun. Honestly, I would rather play a game that pushes me through layer after layer of virtual scare-house than to have it try to break my thumbs off. I don't want that much of a challenge, especially if it comes at the expense of a good time.

"Parallel Zombies is simple, fast, and to the point. Go to the waypoint; kill a ton of zombies. Throw yourself into a mob of rotting flesh and come out on the other side."

Parallel Zombies is simple, fast, and to the point. Go to the waypoint; kill a ton of zombies. Throw yourself into a mob of rotting flesh and come out on the other side. It offers plenty of quest text and some nice art, but I really can't wait to see it after it has stewed a while longer. I didn't find any way to build a safehouse or homebase, as you can do in the other Parallel titles, but devs have said that feature is coming "soon." The thing is, with PerBlue, when you hear "soon," that usually does mean soon. The folks at PerBlue make fun, location-based games. Each title grows a little bit more advanced, and now we have a game that offers almost everything the other titles do (or will "soon") but blends in non-stop, ass-kicking action. Achieving all of that with basic sprite-like animations overlayed on Google maps is pretty damn cool.

I didn't take time to look up every aspect of this new game. Typically I do not enjoy reading about how exciting a game is supposed to be. Strangely enough, I like jumping in, stumbling around, and seeing how the game makes me feel. Parallel Zombies is just silly, stupid fun. It does have missions and a story and some neat art; the audio is often great but does bug out occasionally (patches incoming, I'm sure); and the masses of zombies can often be confusing. In the end, however, it's simple to shoot zombies in the head: You just load your gun and pull the trigger. While the other Parallel titles have more depth than this one, I'm not sure we need the same level of complexity in every title. Sometimes you just want to shoot zombies in the face.

Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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