Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 6

Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival is a simple arcade game where the goal is to drive through a gauntlet of zombies and obstacles while trying to prevent damage to your vehicle. This is impossible on the first attempt, so players must use the money they earn from killing zombies to purchase vehicle upgrades. This simple loop of dying and upgrading until a level is passable won’t appeal to everyone, especially players who hate seeing mobile releases on PC. Nevertheless, the game can be fun, and the new art style is an improvement over the previous two titles in the series.

Gameplay: The gameplay loop is straightforward, as all players have to do is kill zombies and make it to the end of the level with their vehicle intact to proceed to the next.

Graphics: Pixel Survival features a new art style for the series, making it look less gruesome and much more lighthearted than the previous titles.

Sound: The guitar-driven soundtrack is decent, and the sound effects are suitable for a zombie game

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Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival

Developer: Brinemedia | Publisher: Brinemedia | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: Action / Racing / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival is the third title in the series that involves driving through zombie-filled courses in a bid to make it to the finish before your vehicle is destroyed. Pixel Survival is precisely the same as the previous two titles from a gameplay perspective. The action is still set on a 2D plane, with players driving from left to right while watching their damage, ammunition, and nitro meters. If players make it to the end of the level, they can move on to the next, where they can try it all again with a new vehicle.

With only eleven levels, it might sound like Pixel Survival will be a quick game to complete, but true to its mobile roots, doing so actually requires a bit of grinding. Players can upgrade each vehicle in the game; without these upgrades, the odds of success are nonexistent. The upgrades include the engine for higher maximum speed and faster acceleration, the wheels for better traction when driving uphill, and a machine gun for more ammunition. Players can also upgrade the nitro of each car for more speed boosts and the push bar, which increases the durability of the vehicles. Each upgrade has multiple levels, and the price increases after each upgrade, so getting them to decent levels will involve having to redo levels many times. Thankfully, even unsuccessful attempts will reward players with some cash, so they always feel like they are making some progress.

Anyone who has played the previous Zombie Derby titles will know exactly what to expect from Pixel Survival, as everything has stayed the same. Your vehicle has a damage meter; if this is reduced to zero, it is destroyed, and players must attempt the level from scratch. Each enemy and obstacle between you and the finish line does a certain amount of damage, so some strategy is involved when it comes to deciding between what to drive through and what to shoot. Ammunition is limited even when fully upgraded, and some things do a lot more damage than others, so it’s best to save your shots for exploding barrels, zombies armed with TNT, and so on. Some jumps also can’t be cleared without enough nitrous, and some obstacles, such as mines, cause instant death if touched. Thankfully, the game includes a handy in-game enemy encyclopedia highlighting the zombie name, the damage they inflict, the money you get for killing them, and a humorous description. For example, Tommy Kong is a “man of few words and too many barrels” who can inflict fifteen points of damage and reward you with 180 silver if killed.

Simply reaching the end of the level is enough to open up the next, but players can also try to rake in some extra cash. Killing zombies by hitting them with the debris from obstacles rewards players with an “extra style” bonus, while the “stuntman” bonus is gained by dropping on them from above.

Players can also rack up combos by hitting zombies in quick succession, and each level has three stars that can be earned. The first is for killing every zombie on the level, the second is for doing a certain amount of front or back flips, and the final is for killing a bird. These birds usually fly past the highest jump on the level and typically require a vehicle flip to hit. In addition, Pixel Survival features three special levels that rotate daily, each of which has its own leaderboards. The “Sprint” level involves reaching the finish line as quickly as possible, “Halloween 2” requires players to hit as many pumpkins as possible in the least amount of time, and “Carnage” is all about scoring points. When playing these events, players can also see the ghost of their nearest competitor on the leaderboard for an extra incentive to try harder.

While Pixel Survival plays identically to the first two titles in the series, the visuals have been completely overhauled. The semi-realistic models and textures of the previous games have been replaced with bright, colorful, blockier-style visuals that look more like Minecraft. This makes the game look much more cartoony than the originals, even though it uses the same types of environments like snowy mountains, green meadows, and deserts. In addition to the full HD visuals, the game boasts a very smooth framerate, and players can toggle between low, high, and ultra presets. Pixel Survival features a nice assortment of vehicles that range from a sheriff car and ice cream truck to a hot rod, school bus, monster truck, and fan-favorite harvester. In addition to having five different paint schemes that can be purchased, the other upgrades are also visible on each vehicle, which is nice.

The audio doesn’t sound much different from previous entries in the series, so it still features the usual assortment of zombie grunts and engine noises. The soundtrack is by a professional guitarist named Dmitry Trots, and as a bonus, these tracks are accessible outside the game in MP3 format. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tweak the individual volume levels, so players can only toggle the sound effects on or off and the soundtrack on or off. The controls are responsive, and while the physics is nowhere near realistic, they get the job done. All players have to do is hold in the acceleration button to move forward, press the fire button to shoot at obstacles, and hold down the nitro button when a speed boost is needed.

Not much sets Zombie Derby: Pixel Survival apart from many other games with the same premise. It also won’t win over players who don’t like seeing mobile titles ported to PC. However, despite being very grindy, the game is still quite addictive, and we found ourselves returning to it now and then. There’s something soothing about driving over zombies and shooting anything that can explode or damage your car too much. The price tag is also very reasonable, which makes it worth picking up, especially on sale. Fans of the previous two titles or anyone who doesn’t mind the simplicity of a mobile title on PC will have fun with Pixel Survival.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce GTS 450 or AMD Radeon HD5670 (1024MB VRAM)
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7 or newer
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce GTX560Ti or AMD Radeon HD6870 (1024MB VRAM)
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 200 MB available space

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