They say war is hell, and that's even without someone trying to eat your brains. In WootraGames' shooter/defense hybrid Carveola Incident, you play Sgt. Kirley, a man ordered after the war to join up with former enemy soldiers and defend a massive trench in the middle of nowhere. But what's at the center? And who are you defending it from? I'll give you a hint; it starts with a "Z" and ends with a "MY FLESH, MY FLESH, YOU'RE CHEWING ON MY SUCCULENT FLE-HE-HEEESSSSH!"
The lion's share of the gameplay is given over to something like a first person shooter, with you able to run back and forth along the trench while your fellow soldiers hold their ground and fire at anything that comes within range. Your cursor is a crosshair, so just point and click to fire at incoming shamblers. To begin with, most zombies will only require one shot to the head to go down, but as the levels progress, they'll get stronger, and start to appear in greater variety. Some levels are even fought at night, which greatly decreases your visibility. You can see where the zombies are appearing via the little map in the upper right corner, so you'll know where you should be headed to if they start to get too close. (If things get really desperate, you can even call in a little aerial reinforcement.) You can have a total of twenty soldiers on your side, but they won't be enough to protect every section of the trench, so you'll need to keep moving and keep shooting if you want to hold the line.
You can manually place each soldier where you want him before each stage, but because it's impossible to predict where zombies are going to appear, it's faster and just as effective to hit "random" and then arrange if necessary for even dispersal along the trench. If you do lose a soldier to the unfortunate trait of having flesh too tasty for his own good, you can easily replace him between battles, where you spend money on new weapons and new recruits, some of them more effective than others. Hey, it could be worse; thank goodness we're not being attacked by a lot of broad-sided barns or we'd really be done for.
Analysis: While you can't say Carveola Incident is particularly original, being a blend of several genres we see done fairly frequently, the execution is handled quite nicely. It's great to play a defense/shooter where you feel like you're actually vital to your own success, rather than running around like a gimmicky little gopher while the game handles everything for you. The actual story here at work is delivered in tiny snippets of text between each level, and while it may be doled out a bit too slowly for some, it does a good job of creating an air of mystery surrounding the whole event, especially coupled with the black-and-white film grain aesthetic.
The combat is fairly solid and reliable, if unvaried. If your hand is even moderately steady, pegging headshots on zombies even at a long distance is easy, and you'll probably go quite a few levels without a single enemy getting anywhere near brain-eating distance. (Twelve levels in my case.) What the game winds up feeling like it desperately needs is more variation; after a while the monotone colour scheme can get to you, and you're really going to want some different enemies to shake things up. It feels like the game could have been half as long and been stronger for it by cutting out a lot of the identical stages and just making the rest longer to compensate for cash. If we've already proven that we can deal with your crawling zombies just as easily as the others, do we really need to prove it for four more levels before you start adding new ones to the mix?
And, okay, while we're at it, we might as well mention that the concept does sort of resemble that one chapter from that one book you're contractually obligated to read if you've ever been in the same vicinity as someone watching a zombie movie. But Carveola Incident is an entertaining variant on a genre that's been done to death and back again, and, while not particularly complex, offers a satisfying chunk of head-shootin' action for those of us who just don't feel right with the world until we've done our part to stem the undead threat.
They're coming to get you, Kirrrrrley!