The Unsolicited Review: Zombie Gunship Survival

The 3rd post in my ‘The Unsolicited Review’ series where I review games based on them driving my 7 day engagement. Find the previous posts here and here.

Zombie Gunship Survival [iOS, Android]

How did I find it?

As usual, scrolling through the new and updated section of the Play Store got me here. In addition to this, heard about this game through a friend as well. The screenshots instantly reminded me of the ‘Death From Above’ mission in Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and I was on board.

Day Zero (D0)

The first time experience was absolutely fun. I was expecting shooting at zombies through the gunship and that is what I get to start with. Jumping right into the action, I was already invested and wanting for more. This is where the other parts of the game about the base building and weapon equips and upgrades are introduced.

It didn’t take much time to understand the basic things to do in the game.

Kill zombies > Earn Crates > Upgrade your plane and base > Kill more zombies.

The first session was filled with opening couple of short timer crates which gave out lot of items. Although it felt rewarding, this was quite overwhelming. I wasn’t 100% clear about all the things in the game but knew the basics which I felt was good enough.

The first fun session and the short timer crates awarded got me to come back to the game again on the same day where I again completed few more levels and stopped playing once I had my crate slots filled.

Day 1 (D1)

Returning to the game on this day and after completing the first level for the day, I received 2 crates while I had only a single slot empty. This resulted in a loss of a crate which was disappointing.

By this time, I had figured out the upgrades for the weapons and I had started scraping the duplicates to earn bolts in order to upgrade the weapon further.

The first session was short one as I was crunched on time and I returned later for a few more rounds of zombie killing for the day. I encountered the double crates disappointment again. I wouldn’t have felt so upset if the game rewarded a single crate after the level instead of showing me a reward of 2 crates and then informing me that I have lost one.

On a side note, all these crates in the game look the same. It would have been great to depict the time required through some sort of a visual treatment given to it. Something which Clash Royale does brilliantly. The different visuals make you feel better about opening a crate with a longer timer as compared to the one with a short timer. There is no such experience here when you open the crate. Also, since it takes time to understand the value of the kind of drop that you receive from the different crates, it doesn’t make you feel any better about opening a 3 hour crate as compared to a 5 minutes one in the initial sessions of the game.

Day 2, 3, 4 (D2, D3, D4)

Though I had some fun sessions in the first 2 days of the game, surprisingly, I missed out on returning to the game.

There was no effort from the game to remind me about it during this time. Since I had kept a 5 minute crate for opening while quitting the last session, the notification for that one appeared when I had just quit the session and I had dismissed it. For the next few days, even though there was an unopened crate lying around in my game, there was no reminder.

Day 5 (D5)

The game wasn’t trying to get me back at all by this time and it was only when I remembered to check it out during my free time that I returned.

By the time I got in to the zombie killing action, I had 2 crate slots empty. After a single level, I received 2 crates again and the slots were full again. While my earlier disappointing experience of losing out on the rewards was not experienced here, this was basically reducing my play time by giving me extra reward that stops me from engaging with the basic game action.

At this point, I did want to kill zombies but I couldn’t because I knew I was going to lose out on the rewards.

Being blocked out of the primary fun aspect of the game, I looked around for other things that I could interact with. While trying to look for the building upgrades, the costs seemed to confuse and didn’t seem to be valued correctly. A minor wall upgrade cost 2500 supplies while the HQ upgrade for the next level was 5000. The HQ upgrade was going to unlock some new things while wall upgrade was just going to make the wall. Thus I had chosen to not upgrade anything and wait for 5000 resources.

After waiting for some time to make space for more crates and playing few more levels, I had upgraded one of my guns to the max level. At this point, I realized that the gun didn’t really have a drastic effect on it after the upgrades. Also, now I am introduced to a way to add a star level to the gun by combining with another gun of the existing star level. The huge amount of grind that would be required to get the highest level of the gun was very apparent at this point and I was just exhausted thinking about that effort.

Gave up on the session a little while later by setting one of the crates to open.

Day 6 (D6)

No reminders from the game. Out of sight, out of mind. I didn’t return again.

Day 7 (D7)

Like the last time, I returned to the game without any external reminders.

At this point in the game, I didn’t find much value in defending my base against the zombies and wasn’t trying to attempt it at all. Though there was one of the daily goals always to defend your base, I still didn’t bother doing it for those rewards. This meant that I didn’t bother about the building upgrades as well.

As I continued to complete few more levels, I was greeted again with the double crate scenario another crate was lost. I did encounter a new type of zombie on this day which was a welcome addition to the variety of the game apart from the different level layouts till now.

Having played the game for about a week now, I wasn’t very clear on what I am playing for in the long run. I am unsure whether there is some clan-like system or a PvP mode later in the game. I had a feeling that I have explored more than enough of the game and there wasn’t any great incentive to keep playing this game any more.

Final thoughts

Zombie Gunship Survival felt a lot of fun to start with. The core gameplay of mowing down zombies while sitting in your gunship is entertaining. However, over a few sessions, I couldn’t find the long term aspiration to play it. In addition to this, once the total grind required for upgrades was more apparent, it felt demotivating.

I think the early game could have been made more engaging with a better implementation of a few things, for example, the crate drop system, making defense more meaningful, and having reasonable upgrade pricing.

Having experienced the first week as described here, I think I could return to the game sometime later but definitely not quite regularly.

My Rating: 3/7

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