As the sun sets, they stream into the streets of the big city. Their pale skin, gaunt frame, and soulless eyes give them away, as they lurch from place to place, searching for their unholy sustenance. But enough about salarymen, this is a game about zombies! Okay, it's about zombie salarymen, which is frightening enough in itself. Zombies Inc., a time management strategy game by Aethos Games, shows just how difficult in can be balancing the demands of a multi-national corporation while still maintaining satisfying progress in your quest for undead-based world domination.
The goal of Zombies Inc. is to acquire enough money and build a large enough zombie army to take over the world. The game is controlled entirely with the mouse, and is mainly focused on four department. First is "Zombies" which is where you grow and upgrade your legions of the undead. Then there is the "Attack" screen, where you designate your attacks, all the way from Santa's Workshop in the north to Penguin-oplis in the south. The more territories you conquer, the larger the zombie population there'll be in the world. Said population is the main market for your "Sales" department, where you'll earn money by researching and releasing new products. Finally, there is the "Company Upgrades" screen, where you purchase bonuses to help out your entire company. In each department, you may hire more employees to unlock and upgrade different zombies, attacks, and products to sell, but doing so will cost money, so make sure that you stay in the black. If you don't... well, you'll see red in more ways than one.
The combination of business simulation with zombie wackiness is an premise with incredible potential, and Zombies Inc. takes quite a good stab at it. The presentation is solid, it's addictive as all get-out, and there's just something hilarious about seeing a zombie in a suit getting hanging around a water cooler or shaking a computer in anger. However, a number of nitpicks pervade the experience: the mechanics of gaining money and fighting battles seem unnecessarily obfuscated, which can lead to your armies being decimated or your finances drained without exactly knowing why. The cash flow balance feels off, meaning that often there best strategy is just to wait around while the numbers go up, rather than, y'know munching on the populace. The event pop-ups are annoying, and almost always seem to involve humans retaking a city over and over gain. Finally, and this may just be based on expectations unfairly gleaned from other casual games, but Madagascar goes down way too easily. We all know that at the first sign of any kind of virus, those airports are getting shut down.
If the whole of Zombies Inc. doesn't quite measure up to the promise of the sum of its parts, it is still very engaging and fun to play. Lovers of zombies, time management games, and the union thereof should get ready to have a couple hours bitten away.