Apocalypse Max: Better Dead Than Undead (universal) by Wandake is the combination of two insanely popular iOS genres: zombie shooting and platforming. But this isn’t a mindless cash-in attempting to capitalize on App Store trends: Apocalypse Max is one of the more polished platformers around, with beautiful graphics, tight controls, and lots of action to keep players engaged.
On many levels, Apocalypse Max feels like Contra or Metal Slug made for the modern age: players navigate through 20 stages of zombies, pitfalls, and other obstacles with nothing but a knife and a gun in their hand. Killing zombies can unearth coins, which are later used on ammo, healing packs, and upgrading the game’s various weapons, like shotguns, plasma rifles, and rocket launchers – all of which can create some gory on-screen mayhem when unleashed on the stumbling brain-eaters popping up in every level.
The controls are what one would expect from a side-scrolling platformer: left and right buttons for movement on the left, with shooting, jumping, and other actions relegated to the right side. The knife – which acts like a melee weapon, quick and deadly to unleash – is used by swiping either left or right on the screen, and can be a little bit unreliable at times, especially when trying to swipe left. Having to move a thumb into the middle of the screen in the midst of shooting and jumping can be a little awkward, but its hardly a major problem.
Apocalypse Max‘s aesthetics help round out its complete package. Every character and zombie movement is smoothly animated, and navigating the levels is an absolute ball: with the crisp Retina graphics and catchy action game soundtrack. If there’s anything that could be improved in Max, it’s the same thing many iOS games suffer from: I just wanted to play more.
Playing Apocalypse Max feels like a I’m playing a true update to the bullet-filled platformers of yore on Nintendo and Sega consoles. For any platforming fans who want some Contra-esque action on their iOS device, Max is a must buy – and even for those who aren’t familiar with those old titles, Max is an high quality action title for any iPhone or iPad user looking for some run and gun gameplay.