Even though rumors consistently swirled following the success of the 2009 Zombieland film, it felt like a pipedream that a sequel would ever come to fruition. Fast-forward ten years later, and not only do we have an entirely new movie, but also two original video games; one for consoles and PC, and one on mobile devices. As exciting as that is, it’s probably best to play both games with fairly tempered expectations, as the Zombieland IP isn’t necessarily one of the upper echelon Hollywood franchises.
Zombieland Double Tap: Road Trip doesn’t exactly fill the void where Left 4 Dead 3 should be, but the game provides enough brain-dead action that fans of the movie will especially enjoy. Though, they are probably the only ones who will.
Welcome To (Digital) Zombieland
Zombieland Double Tap: Road Trip is a top-down cooperative shooter that picks up right after the final scene of the first movie and takes players through the events that lead up to the newly released sequel. Players take on the role of one of the four original heroes - Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, or Little Rock - as they hit the road (so to speak), taking out any and all zombies they encounter through the franchise’s staple of gory and over-the-top ways.
Zombieland Double Tap: Road Trip’s best feature is its original story that fills in the gaps connecting the first and second movies. For fans of the films, it makes Zombieland Double Tap: Road Trip a must-buy, if only for the lore and getting to spend more time with our favorite zombie-slaying crew.
Unfortunately, only Abigail Breslin provides her voice for her in-game character, Little Rock. Breslin does an admirable job holding true to her character, which is a good thing considering the story moves along through numerous back-and-forth conversations that take place between each of the characters. The same humor and call-backs that are present in the second film can all be found in Road Trip. Having at least one of the characters voiced by the original actors makes the conversations much more interesting and meaningful, especially considering the staggering number of cheesy one-liners that players are treated to. That said, the game would have undoubtedly been elevated had all four actors been involved with Road Trip.
The overall movement and combat premise is pretty simple. On the Switch, the top-down shooter allows for decent aiming with the right Joy-Con analog stick, while the left stick moves the character around the level. Kiting hordes of zombies into a single group is the best, and really, only strategy to get the most bang for your buck.
On that note, Road Trip certainly doesn’t have a lack of weaponry. Plenty of different weapon types can be found around the map, such as grenades, dual-wielding pistols, shotguns, and rifles. Environmental hazards also provide fun ways to take out the zombies, which is a fun nod to the films’ “Zombie Kill of the Year” awards.
Road Trip plays it safe with its top-down shooter mechanics. Aim, shoot, reload, and do it all again. One of its pain points includes the need to use keys to progress through the levels. This is a pretty tired mechanic, but is probably a more subjective complaint than anything else. The game actually makes light of this right away, which while funny, makes it almost feel even more annoying.
Additionally, checkpoints are hard to come by in Road Trip, which was initially incredibly frustrating, as dying late in the level meant having to redo the entire level all over again. However, it makes sense for any zombie game to have this sort of mechanic. That urgency and desperation is what makes the genre so fun and intense. It also speaks to how tricky the game is for a single-player, making local co-op gameplay that much more enticing. Taking out zombies is always more fun with friends anyways; a statement which also rings true in Road Trip’s Horde mode.
A Shambling Success (For Fans Of The Movie)
A $40 price tag feels pretty high for the game, so even if you’re a fan of the films, you may want to wait until the title goes on sale. Zombieland Double Tap: Road Trip doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the top-down shooter genre, but does it really need to? After all, you’re probably not going to give the game a second look unless you really like Zombieland. Even then, you don’t really need to play Road Trip to enjoy the sequel. But if you should decide to pick it up, playing with a box full of Twinkies might at least help you feel like you’re mowing down zombies right along with Tallahassee.
A Switch copy of Zombieland Double Tap: Road Trip was purchased for this review. Zombieland Double Tap: Road Trip is available now for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.