Well this is different.

I, Zombie just kind of came out of nowhere for me. I literally just got handed(well, emailed) a review code and that was the first I'd heard of it. No promos that I saw, no web ads, nothing in any social media, it just kind of...manifested. It's not even a super easy game to find info on, thanks to having a title close enough to the TV show iZombie that Google's helpful corrections get all confused.

The game's from the studio Awesome Games, which, I'm gonna be honest, also makes doing much research on them a bit tricky. Which is kind of a shame, because if this is a demonstrative example of their work, I'm intrigued.

But let's talk the actual game. Now, I know zombies are a bit of a tired premise, but work with me. The game's core pitch is that you are, naturally, a zombie. A particularly durable, intelligent super-zombie type, kind of a 'lead zombie' if you will. Your goal is, really, quite simple. Omnomnom some humans and turn them into zombie slaves. The resulting gameplay is not entiiiirely unlike something like Pikmin, or other various RTS-light mob commanding games.

The big difference here is the game's puzzle element. In short, while generic humans will flee at a slow enough pace to be quickly eaten, soldiers(who start appearing quite quickly) will stand and fight. And every shot you, or any other zombie, takes slows you down. Now, everybody's got auto-healing, so it won't be too long before you're back at full health and full speed. And when you have a sufficiently large undead horde in a stage, it can even be to your benefit, as your zombies naturally rotate to ensure the pesky humans can't actually land a clean shot on the same one too many times.

But when you're alone, or with a small horde, even just one or two soldiers can be deadly. No, you have to be careful, watching the angles and finding a way to get as close as possible before you're spotted. It's a delicate balance, where many stages involve having to avoid soldiers entirely until you have enough sheer strength of numbers to begin thinning them out.

Your actual control on your zombies is pretty simple, admittedly. While I made a Pikmin comparison, you don't have nearly as much command as you do in that game. No, here you have but three simple states you can put your horde in; Stop, Follow, and Attack, where they'll automatically swarm after the nearest human and keep going until you tell them otherwise.

This limited set of commands, especially with it being over your entire horde, thus creates one of the other puzzle elements of the game. You don't have access to super careful tactics like pincer strikes or multi-layered ambushes. The closest you can do is using yourself as a main target, since at full health you're actually faster than the horde and just barely able to avoid gunfire.

But, all of this helps make the game interesting. Once you get past the first couple of stages that are glorified tutorials, and start having to unpack the puzzle box a bit, the game really opens up...At least as much as a single-screen puzzler can.

And of course, we do have to talk about a bit of an elephant in the room. The basic vector-looking graphics, the simple animations, and the incredibly simple life bars and UI, all come together to make this game look like nothing less than a particularly well-assembled Flash game circa 2006.

But here's the thing.

That shit is my jam. I spent a lot of my schooling years tracking down the latest Flash game sites, getting ahead of the stuff the school filter blocked, and playing games that looked a lot like this. A lot of first-wave indies ultimately came out of those scenes, with their prototypical forms and concepts getting birthed in that wobbly mess that was Flash.

So this, for me, has been nothing less than a blast of nostalgia for an era that probably passed a lot of folks entirely by.

Of course, I do have to admit nothing's perfect. I ran into some minor glitches, and the art doesn't always super line up to the hitboxes; I've had more than a few times where it looked like I should have been able to pass through an area but couldn't, or should have been out of sight only to get shot in the face.

And the game's a bit thin on the ground in terms of the strict amount of content. While there is the level editor, in terms of actual professionally done core stuff, there looks to only be two modestly sized little campaigns.

But at the end of the day...Here's the thing. This is not a game in the same class as some of the 20 dollar indies I've reviewed, or even 30 dollar indies. This is a five dollar game. I know I've said this before on ones like this, but I literally paid more than that for my most recent meal. And on top of that? I had more fun with this, if admittedly in part because of that nostalgia bomb, than I did on some of those much bigger, flashier indies I've reviewed.

I can't speak to every perspective, but if you're like me and you remember the era that this game is riffing on so hard, it's a firm Reccommended.