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Containment: The Zombie Puzzler

Containment: The Zombie Puzzler

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: PC Games
Category: iPad, Puzzle

So, let's get one thing out of the way... the steam description of the game doesn't talk about features, or anything except back of the box blurb... and there's a reason for this... Containment doesn't really have a lot of features. But the main question is: Is it worth the price?


The graphics for the game are kind of old fashioned. On the one hand, most of the visual cues are pretty clear (with the exception of zombie shields), but, on the other, it just doesn't look very good. The story is shown with large blue sans-serif text over the world, which looks ugly, and there doesn't appear to be any colour-blindness support, which makes later levels irritating for reasons I'll go into. In short, you're definitely not buying this game for the visuals. The main problem is that everything feels generic and low effort, from the basic zombies (sexless glowy-eyed monstrosities) to the levels (often re-using assets several times a chapter)


The music is generally low-key, which is good for a puzzler with the theme of “zombie apocalypse”, the screams are okay, and the heartbeat telling you how screwed/safe you are is nice. That's about the only praise I've got for the sounds, really. Apart from that, the zombie sounds are a little boring, the lines from the human types are often pretty ridiculous (“She finally got laid... to rest”), and everything just feels generic. In fact, as we'll see, this is a problem I have with the game as a whole.


The basic idea is to surround zombie groups with one type of survivor, which kills the zombie group, and may get you special items. You can only move one survivor at a time, and the game is in real time, not turn based. Erasing all the zombies moves you onto the next level, of which there are fifteen. Later levels introduce more zombie types, such as the wizard, who has a colour coded shield that means you either hit it twice, or surround it with the right colour of survivor, or the gorilla zombie, which is sort of a boss monster. The problem comes when you realise that the difficulty curve is not across acts, but across chapters. Each chapter starts very easy, and then throws a higher proportion of zombies into the mix until you have to quickly isolate groups just to stay alive. This, combined with the lack of support for the colour-blind, the sometimes janky controls, and the element of luck involved, means that later levels of a chapter leave you retrying it a few times because you either couldn't move quick enough to stop the zombies infecting too many people (instant loss scenario), or didn't have enough of the right colour to deal with the special infected.

It all feels a bit lazy, and I'm sad to say that it isn't really worth the £3 I paid for it. You don't get a whole lot for the money, there's not a whole lot of replay value, and I really didn't find any reason to keep playing. I'd imagine some fans of casual arcade puzzlers might enjoy Containment, but I didn't. It felt unfulfilling, sometimes arbitrary, and lazy.


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