Video Game Containment: The Zombie Puzzler (PC) (2012)

Containment: The Zombie Puzzler (PC) (2012)

Overview: Containment: The Zombie Puzzler is a tile game where the player eliminates zombies by surrounding them with humans of the same occupation (cop, soldier, scientist, punk).


Relevant Links:
Containment: The Zombie Puzzler Website
Containment: The Zombie Puzzler (PC) (MetaCritic.com)
Containment: The Zombie Puzzler (Steam Store Page)

20160104:
Although I initially planned to just finish Act 1, I ended up playing through and finishing the entire campaign (Acts 1, 2, and 3).

Gameplay:
In addition to the core gameplay, players can also use items and the environment to their advantage.

Some basic gameplay instructions
Cops drop a sniper-shot, soldiers drop a grenade, scientists drop a containment suit, and punks drop a molotov. Other useful drops include a lightning strike (clear three vertically), an airstrike (clear an entire row), and a question mark (2x2 block falls).

Note that in addition to the different items, there are also many different types of zombies. The first type encountered is the standard zombie. Surround a standard zombie in order to defeat it. The second type encountered is the mutated zombie. This type must be surrounded twice in order to defeat it (or a single shot from any weapon item). There are several more, but I'll leave them as a surprise.


Finally, the environment can sometimes be used to help clear zombies as well.

Tip: Using a question mark item drops a 2x2 block from the sky which stays where it lands. Arguably the strongest item in the game, a well-placed question mark item can allow for eliminating multiple enemies consecutively.

Example of Tip: The following is an example of placing a 2x2 block near a corner so that surrounding a zombie only requires two matching civilians instead of four or more.

The game pans from level to level and tells the story through text:
"Heading through the park seemed like a good idea."
A cascade (chain reaction) takes place after dropping the 2x2 block.
MZSP -> MZSP -> ...P -> ...P
MZPS -> MZPS -> MZSS -> ...S
PSZS -> PXXS -> MXXS -> MXXS
PPZS -> PXXS -> PXXS -> MXXS
CZCS -> CZCS -> PZPS -> PZSS
Where we have C = cop, M = soldier, S = scientist, P = punk, Z = zombie, and X = part of 2x2 block.

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ The game does a great job of teaching the player how to play

The game pans from level to level and tells the story through text:
"But we still weren't out of the woods."
+ The way this game develops the story and pans around from puzzle to puzzle is awesome
+ A new spin on the tile genre (not tile-matching, but tile containment)

Neutral:
~ The campaign is short and ranges from easy to medium difficulty. The survival mode is more of a challenge.

Minor Con:
- Setting up combos in Containment: The Zombie Puzzler isn't as easy as setting up combos in standard tile games.

The game pans from level to level and tells the story through text:
"Fraternity Row."
In this respect, the game can feel less exciting. I would easily overlook this aspect due to the game's story presentation

Recommendation:
I would definitely recommend this game for players who enjoy zombie-themed video games. I enjoyed the way the story was presented and would focus on this as one of the game's selling points. Otherwise, the game's surround tile X with only tile Y is a novel mechanic, but not a cause for playing the game on its own.

The game pans from level to level and tells the story through text:
"No one could explain it."
"No one could reproduce it."
"No one could believe it."
In contrast, a zombie-themed game that lacks a strong story, yet has strong gameplay is Plants vs. Zombies (2009), a tower-defense by PopCap Games released in 2009.

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