A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game encourages you to "torture or nurture" your pet zombie, but your skill level seems to go up more quickly with torture than nurture. It's also not always clear what constitutes nurturing. For example, one of the toys is a full-size mirror with a bell. You can lure your zombie with the bell, and then hit them with the mirror. On the other hand, if you don't hit your zombie with the mirror, it will attack and break it, resulting in bad luck and a storm cloud raining down. The game gives you awards for things like lighting your zombie on fire for an extended period of time and torturing it with electric shock while it's wet.
Positive Role Models
There are no character role models, but players are encouraged and rewarded for negative behavior. There is no incentive to choose a positive behavior over a negative one.
Ease of Play
The game starts with a basic tutorial and there is help content available. Some features are either glossed over or aren't properly explained in the manual or game content, such as the fact that you have to level up to obtain more zombies. Overall, though, it's straightforward.
Violence & Scariness
The premise of this game is to torture your zombie. Tortures include electric shock, throwing hard objects (bricks, bottles) at it, setting it on fire, and poking it with a cattle prod. Players are rewarded for these actions with level growth, toys, and games. Although these are cartoon zombies, they are human-like, "bleed" green goo, and moan and groan when in pain.
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The zombies don't speak.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pet Zombies is a macabre take on the trend of pet sim games. Player reanimate a zombie, choose a character, and dress the zombie. From there, players can take care of their pet by feeding it, petting it, and playing with it. They can also torture their pet by burning it, shocking it, and hitting it. The game rewards both behaviors. Zombies pick their noses and lick their hands and arms. They are not intelligent creatures, which makes it easy to tease them with things like a laser light or a tennis ball. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.
Is It Any Good?
Even players who like the idea of torturing zombies should be prepared to be tortured themselves in this sub-par simulation game. The game starts with one unlocked game, toy, tool, food item, background, zombie, and furniture item. From there you'll need to slowly and painfully earn enough experience to unlock each and every item. How? By repeatedly feeding, torturing, and "playing with" your zombie.
In most cases torture is the fastest route to experience, but even those who giggle at the thought of clobbering zombies with mirrors will quickly grow bored here. Mini-games, which provide some respite to the tedium of zombie care, earn Zombucks, but no experience, which means it takes a long time to level up. The game picks up as items are unlocked, but by then you may not care anymore.
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Our Editors Recommend
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