Escape from Zombie City (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Drew Hurley 07.04.2016

Review for Escape from Zombie City on Nintendo 3DS

This 2013 top down shooter from Japanese developer Tom Create finds the aptly named Romero City overrun with zombies, and the military force that was sent to deal with them almost completely wiped out; all save one single soldier, Johnny Johnson. Unfortunately, J.J. has only a few hours to try and make it out of the overrun city before it's completely levelled by the government's bombs.

Escape from Zombie City certainly gives an early appropriate first impression, with the title screen portraying a character that looks like it's drawn by a 12-year-old with a "How to draw Manga" book… and the graphics never really get any better from there, with character portraits that continue the terrible art design, and sprites which look just as bad.

Story mode starts out by giving a countdown until the bombs are dropped, and this countdown is a persistent threat across the entirety of the adventure, as after the completion of each stage, it reappears as a continuous reminder of Johnny's impending doom. Thus, our hero treks across stage after stage, travelling bottom to top, slaughtering endless reams of the walking dead, and saving stranded civilians along his way out of the city. The countdown isn't the only constant across the story, though, since Johnny's health and ammo are carried over stage to stage in a smart way that adds a bit more challenge.

Screenshot for Escape from Zombie City on Nintendo 3DS

Each stage is filled with a variety of zombies, from the generic usual shambling corpses, to the more challenging and interesting enemies. There are zombies with guns, zombies with bombs attached to them, and even boss characters like zombie alligators. There may be a spectrum of different enemies to fight through, but each looks awful thanks to the terrible art style, and all suffer from bugs and simplistic AI. Easy to avoid and constantly running in circles, and if they do happen to reach Johnny they latch on and drain his health, requiring frantic waggling of the analogue to disengage, but more often than not the enemies don't actually stick to him, and instead get stuck on various obstacles in the environment, or even on thin air.

Johnny is packing a diverse arsenal of guns and explosives to make mincemeat of the relentless hordes. Along with his default simple pistol that comes equipped with infinite ammo, Johnny can also use a spread-fire shotgun, a rapid-firing machine gun, a flamethrower, a piercing magnum, a minigun, explosive grenades, and even flares which create small safe zones that zombies won't enter. This could make the combat more interesting, but to switch weapon the D-pad must be used to cycle through every choice in a ridiculously awkward way, something that it's highly unintuitive and feels very unnatural.

Along with the story, there's also an Endless mode, which is actually quite the saving grace. With a similar gameplay style (race to the top of the screen before the time runs out), this gives only a five-minute time limit, but allows any weapon to be equipped with infinite ammo. Progressing through and accomplishing more, extends the timer somewhat, and makes up for a fun pick-up-and-play gameplay. Even here there are flaws, though, since boss characters with guns make for some slow and annoying moments.

Screenshot for Escape from Zombie City on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 3 out of 10


Repetitive and boring, Escape from Zombie City feels like something that should have been free to play on Newgrounds 10 years ago. Each aspect that seems fun is quickly ruined by some annoyance or poor design decision. This is another in a long line of zombie-based shovelware titles, which may give brief moments of fun, but, ultimately, are a waste of time and download space.


Tom Create


Tom Create





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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