Zombie Catchers: How an iOS game has affected my career choice

Recently, I’ve picked up a great little game on both my phone and iPad; something I’ve struggled to do lately, is get into an iOS game that wasn’t Sudoku… I know, I’m an old man. However, watching my girlfriend sit transfixed on her phone, I thought the game would no doubt do the same to me. And so it has.

Two men and a dog have created a fun, pick up and play game revolving around “Fresh and Squeezed”, a…’milkshake’ fast food joint run by A.J (your character) and your trusty sidekick and robot pal, Bud. The idea is simple; catch zombies from areas such as the swamp and beach, then compress them in the squeezers to make more products for Fresh & Squeezed, your shop. Products range from what appears to be a Pineapple-esque Smoothie to an apple pot of what can only be described as goop. These require from 2/3 of that particular colour of zombie, then later require 2 of two different types of zombie, which then requires you to think where they’re best placed to make you some profit once you’ve unlocked more vats.

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The aim of the game is to level up and work your way through the ‘levels’ which usually have 3 goals attached to them, normally a ‘sell …’ Followed by upgrades or purchasing a new vat. To accomplish this, you have to go to the areas with zombies and catch them by luring them out using brains… keeping a certain distance away before harpooning them/netting them/bear trapping them, so that Bud can crane them up into the tank. This is how the game gets you hooked though… by making you get involved, having fun, before the inevitable waiting for you to be able to play kicks in. This is good in some regards, as it means that you do take pauses from a highly addictive game; but on the other hand, it tries to get you to purchase plutonium rods where, you guessed it, micro-transactions play a role.

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There are a few different types of ‘zombie’. We have the Surfboard Zombie for the beach, who can guard themselves from the harpoon when the board is covering their back, or the Garbage-Tin wearing Zombie, who has an unconventional piece of armour to protect it for a while. The reason I put zombie in hyphons is down to the zombies not being of the usual sort. They vary in colour to help the player distinguish them from one another so that you know you’re collecting yellow for the yellow tube for example, but the colour makes them appear more like aliens than Zombies.

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The game has obviously had some time spent on making sure that it’s pretty; with a particular heads-up to the actual drive-thru motion employed in the game with several humans going through in their spaceships/spacecars. The vats and the motion of the drinks being passed up to the booth is just a good touch, one of those that might often be overlooked, but it’s a small detail that adds to the finished feel of the game. The level designs are good; small changes are made each time you enter the Swamp for example, whether it be the addition of a house or a larger hill than previously, which help to stop the game from going stale quickly. It’s also helped by the fact that the number and type of zombies switch up each time, as well as the grouping; you could go from having a singular brain capable of catching 3 zombies, which is when changing from harpoon to net becomes a very valid choice, especially when it bypasses armour!

To allude back to the title of this… I’m now at the point where I feel like I could open a Fresh & Squeezed shop and change job title. If I suddenly start writing articles every day, you’ll all know it’s because I am now jobless.