When robots, vampires, mutants, and blood-thirsty plants start adding to the undead menace, it's time to face facts; this isn't just apocalypse, it's the pocalypse! In The Pocalypse Defense, a action defense shooter game from Green Pixel (the combined talents of Rich Halliday and Joe), you're in charge of protecting the city of New Hammerston and its survivors against the incoming waves of creatures who would love nothing better than to do various painful, fatal things to your fragile human flesh. Fortunately for you, several of these survivors ain't your ordinary Joes... well, uh, one of them is Joe, but he's certainly not ordinary. In fact, he's a superhuman, of sorts, and on his side is Jess with her heavy weaponry, genius and sniper Bernie, and robotic wonder Harry. If you want to know more about them, you'll have to see the animated comic the game is based on of the same name (The Pocalypse, which is, suffice it to say, a bit too bloody and swear-y for children), but you don't have time for that right now... you've got apocalypse of your own to deal with!
The only character you'll control directly is Joe, who begins the game armed with his fists and a simple gun. Use the [W] and [S] or up and down [arrow] keys to move him back and forth, [A] and [D] or the left and right [arrow] keys to cycle through his weapons, and click on enemies to fire/attack as they approach. Bernie and Jess will provide support from the rooftop, while Harry has a score of useful abilities you can activate as long as he has enough energy for them. Joe has a limited number of hitpoints, but even if he gets knocked out, he'll be back on his feet swinging again after a brief recovery. The gate, however, is another matter, and if enemies break through, it's Game Over; do your best to hold the line during waves, and use whatever cash you earn for repairs.
Between waves, you'll be able to visit several large upgrade stations within New Hammerston and spend cash on repairs, enhancements, or new weapons and abilities. Most of these can be unlocked with cold, hard cash, but some of them need a little manpower; during waves, survivors will run towards the gate. You can click on a survivor to heal them a little as they approach, and if they make it inside safely, they'll add to the population. Be warned, however; the game does not save progress, and if you close the window or exit to the main menu you'll have to start all over the next time you pick it up.
Analysis: There are a lot of zombie games out there, but few of them are as cheery, silly, and outright weird as the overall vibe presented by this little gem. With so many zombie games taking gray, morbid approaches to the end of the world, The Pocalypse's bright, energetic mood and over-the-top gameplay is like a breath of fresh air. (Air that carries the stench of blood and rotting flesh, but I digress.) The design and animations are fantastic, the soundtrack is bouncy and fun, and the dialogue is funny enough to make you wish there was more of it. While the game lacks any real sort of an end, the sheer amount of upgrades on hand will keep completionists busy for a while.
Still, the Pocalypse feels like it needs... more. More monsters, more integrated story, and certainly more variety. A few "boss fights" would have livened things up and eliminated the sense that the game turns into a grind after a few levels. There were also a few times where the controls felt a little awkward; being unable to move and shoot might be realistic, but it's also frustrating, and when enemies get too thick shooting becomes erratic and unreliable, perhaps because it became difficult to target monsters when they were piled on top of each other. Of course, once you manage to save up enough for the laser and dump a few upgrades it, the game becomes significantly easier... turns out the natural predator of the zombie is a superheated beam of destruction to the face. Who knew?
The Pocalypse Defense is practically screaming for a bigger, badder sequel, but what's there is still fun and incredibly well presented. While this is Green Pixel's first game, it's pretty clear they've got a massive amount of talent and are definitely developers to keep your eye on. In the meantime, get out there and dust-ify/spatter/expolode some enemies. (And then make sure to check out the comic the game is based on.) And remember... spinning is the most effective means of attack!