Zombie Slayer Diox
Publisher: UFO Interactive
Release Date: 03/22/2012
After a mediocre outing with Rock of the Dead, UFO Interactive went back to the drawing board. Releasing a smaller-scale game, Zombie Slayer Diox looks to fill in a music gaming void on the Nintendo 3DS shop. Unfortunately, like Rock of the Dead, Zombie Slayer Diox sounds like a great idea, but falls short in execution.
Putting players in the role of Diox, a heavy metal samurai of sorts, players guide Diox on a quest lined with zombies in order to retrieve an amp so powerful, it will cleanse the world of the undead in a single note. This is pretty much the extent of the premise with no backstory or any details unfolding through gameplay. It’s as straightforward as can be, but for a small downloadable title, this doesn’t drag the experience down considerably.
Along with no expansive story, Diox doesn’t offer anything in the variety of game modes. It brings a single premise to the table, but, again, at $6, players shouldn’t be expected a buffet of offerings. If you know what you’re paying for going in, Diox delivers on its simplicity.
After thinking about it for a bit, I decided the visuals of the title remind me somewhat of the span of casual social media games that have been popping up, such as in Zynga’s art direction. Diox almost has a “chibi” feel to him and the world is crafted around him appropriately. Everything has a very colorful cartoon style and, honestly, it looks quite good.
Given the title’s rhythm nature, understandably, the game does feature a ton of repeated assets and there isn’t a robust amount of animations. Again, though, the player’s concentration will be focused heavily on the stream of zombie commands and the game adequately throws in attractive visuals where it counts. As players rack up combos, the screen actually gets pretty crazy with visual flare, allowing the visuals to pop when players are doing well.
Diox features a handful of tunes to accompany the action and serves as the hook of the action. True to the game’s theme, the tunes are fairly heavy in nature. All the music is instrumental, which is perfectly fine, but I didn’t find the music to be very memorable. Even though the tracks are well done, I felt they got lost in the action too often and became slightly repetitive. The whole time I just couldn’t shake the feeling the music was “generic.” This becomes especially problematic in the stages with run times of more than four minutes.
Each stage pits Diox against a lineup of zombies. As Diox runs automatically to the right, a “note highway” is formed. Each zombie has a command above its head and Diox has an area directly in front of him that allows him to match the icons in time to the music and slay the enemy.
On easy, players only need to concern themselves with a direction input made by swiping on the bottom screen horizontally, vertically or diagonally (left or right). However, once players jump up to the medium or hard difficulties, similar to a guitar game, a button command also needs to be held in tandem with the strumming. On all difficulties, not only does Diox have to survive the zombies, but he also has to meet a score requirement to truly clear the level. This criteria comes into play because players can do anything they wish to merely kill the zombie and avoid being damaged; however, it takes timing and proper inputs to build up score.
Unfortunately, the game never does anything interesting with these mechanics. Every stage is the same thing and even the boss fights which could add some variety are just minutes of the player slashing up projectiles instead of zombies. Different commands such as holds, power-ups or other elements could have made the game far more interesting than it is. I can’t say the game is outright bad and I had no problems playing through it on a couple of the difficulties, it just does nothing very interesting and drags on far longer than most players will likely have patience for.
Another huge issue I had was in the controls. Even on easy, the game seemed intent on interpreting a good chunk of my horizontal or vertical attacks as diagonal, resulting in the constant loss of combo. This seemed to happen very frequently while switching from horizontal to vertical attacks and vice versa. I tried a number of different methods between using my thumb and stylus and couldn’t get much of an improvement. I was still able to easily beat levels, but it was frustrating to lose momentum when I know I swiped in the correct direction.
Also, I preferred playing on easy because the control scheme of utilizing the d-pad for different commands wasn’t the most comfortable for me. The way the dual screens are set up doesn’t really aid the gameplay in this regard, either. To have the best idea of what players will need to do to prepare for the next grouping of zombies, players will have to constantly bounce their eyes back and forth between the screens.
Players can come back to the game repeatedly to best their personal scores, but there probably won’t be much interest in revisiting the game in the long term. It is certainly an interesting distraction, but it just doesn’t have enough replayability muscle. There is a “free mode” available, but when you can select any stage you want in the story, I don’t really see a point in it. The title is good in small chunks, but its sticky controls left me only wanting to play a stage or two at a time.
Still, the amount of on content on offer makes sense compared to its price and the spread of challenge between the modes is spot on. The title also does utilize the 3D of the system, but it is mostly just to make the characters and certain effects lift off the screen a bit. At a lower price, the fact Zombie Slayer Diox fills in a music gaming void on the download service might be appealing to some, but most will likely find the premise of the game sounds a lot cooler than the end result.
Graphics: Very Good
Sound: Below Average
Control and Gameplay: Below Average
Replayability: Pretty Poor
Addictiveness: Below Average
Appeal Factor: Decent
FINAL SCORE: Below Average Game
Short Attention Span Summary
Zombie Slayer Diox is just one of those games that sounds awesome in its premise, but it just fails to deliver in execution. Slicing up zombies in time to music certainly has its appeal, but Diox brings generic music, unreliable controls and uninteresting gameplay to the table. Aside from some solid visuals, the title does everything either mediocre or below average. It’s playable, the premise is interesting and the gameplay isn’t outright offensive, but Diox fails to shine through with its potential.