The zombie apocalypse has arrived and only the best can compete to win the first annual zombieland invitational — a run and gun race through zombie filled obstacle courses designed to test your accuracy and cardio in Zombieland: Headshot Fever.
Taking place within the cinematic universe of the Zombieland series, your character is taken under the wing of the film’s unlikely crew and tutored in the art of zombie slaying whilst working toward entry in a global tournament — the Zombieland Invitational — a real life tournament organised by VR Master League.
Before you can take on the world however you need to hone your skills. The crew set out a set of courses for you to run whilst introducing you to the different types of enemies you will need to take out. Rather than a fully motion tracked experience, Zombieland: Headshot Fever opts for a number of static locations on a rail driven tour of each location where once you have taken out the undead you can move on to the next station.
In a call back to the second film in the series — Zombieland: Double Tap — shooting a zombie twice in the head — a double tap — slows down time, a mechanic which can be extended by double tapping another zombie before the combo timer ends. Lining up shots during bullet time not only becomes easier but as the timer is slowed considerably it’s the key to getting the best times available in each run.
The aim on each run is to get the fastest time available but there’s also a number of optional objectives within each course. These tasks form the basis of Zombieland: Headshot Fever’s high replay value whilst offering different takes on the “speedrun” formula. Some require you to score specific combos, find hidden items within each course or never miss a shot but they are varied enough that you won’t get bored. Completing missions usually offers extra resources, weapon unlocks or other bonuses.
Not only do you have your trusty pistol but you can also carry one special weapon with a limited amount of ammo. This could be anything from shotgun to an assault rifle but to get the best times possible you’ll need to be able to shave of seconds wherever possible in each run, with the best way of doing this to dual wield and kill multiple zombies at once (where possible)
Easier runs at the start of the game offer players the ability to hone their skills and rack up some of the easier objectives on their path to the Zombieland Invitational. Beginner runs also allow your character to take a number of hits with a time penalty rather than an instant fail. But as you progress and unlock new areas it becomes a one hit fail affair and the speed as well as the quantity of the undead in each segment increases.
Everything costs something though, and money is unfortunately useless in the apocalypse. As such, the most sought after item in the world becomes toilet paper. Toilet paper or TP is earned through completing runs or mission objectives in addition to racking up combos or shooting TP dropped by zombies throughout a run.
Between missions you can visit a few areas of your safe house and interact with a few of the characters from the film in addition to honing your skills in the training room. Tallahassee runs the weapons table and depending on how many missions you have and how much toilet paper you have amassed you can both upgrade weapons and purchase new skins for them. You can also equip up to two perks which can complement your playstyle and offer differing boosts to aiming or damage.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever relies on the fluidity of the run at all times and reloading could have made or broke the entire game. Fortunately, it’s both easy and very quick. At any time, on either weapon, you can press down on the controller thumbstick effectively ejecting your current magazine. A new one floats conveniently in the area in front of you and the action of slamming down your weapon onto it reloads it.
Whilst you are not shooting the timer still runs, meaning success in Zombieland counting on marginal gains after a while and your repeated runs teach you where the zombies will appear but also when best to reload and when to deploy a secondary weapon.
The action is quick, frantic and exciting leaving you with that “just one more run” feeling, its that addictive quality the game revolves around and the developers have done a great job in incentivising you to replay levels to get your best score or just to grind out some TP to help you upgrade your weapons and complete side missions.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever is a great use of the film licence it’s based on and even though the original voice cast don’t return it doesn’t really detract from the fact it’s still Zombieland. The simple rinse and repeat format utilised never really gets tired as the runs are so short and action packed you don’t have the time to think about the repetitive action, plus there are so many runs available there’s a good variety of scenery and difficulty to keep it fresh.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever is out now on Oculus Quest 2