Atom Zombie Smasher is a super little indie strategy game. The basic premise is that you take on the guise of a commander holding back the zombie hordes from overruning your city.
It works on two levels; first is the strategy where a map of the city districts is where you see the progress of zombie infestations and plan your next mission. You can choose which military assets you take with you from: infantry, snipers, mines, demolitions, barricades, gas attracting teams or artillery. Once you initiate the mission, the game changes to a tactical sub-game where you place your units on the map to best protect the civilians you are trying to extract from the map, while avoiding collateral damage. To many dead civilians and you fail.
There are a number of tactical elements that affect each mission type such as: map layout, dangerous area which can explode if you are not careful, more or less time-limit & available/unavailable units.
You win if you extract a minimum number of civilians or your units are able to destroy the encroaching zed hordes. However if you do not clear the map of zeds before nightfall more zeds arrive to swarm the map. Successful missions reward you with points that go towards an overall victory target. Units also receive XP to increase their unique zed destroying abilities and they can level up to increase those abilites to make them more clincial.
The zeds then receive strategic points allocated to some city district (1-4) which determines the strength of the zombie hordes and the difficulty of initiating a mission there. This continues until you reach the campaign victory target.
Though gameplay is fairly repetitive the addition of custom campaign options make the strategy and tactical aspects that much more varied. Scientists can be found wondering the city area and can be rescued. Each one can then be "spent" to acquire research upgrades towards 8 specific areas of interest including: faster xp gains for units, faster strategic weapons, resilient scientist, more destructive weapons etc). You can have access to strategic and tactical weapons that can clear zeds from an entire district thus reseting the danger level there. Just be aware of the monster-zeds! lol
For me this was a surprise gem of a game. While graphics are just basic sprites, it really can grab you if you let it. It one of the most intelligently designed games Ive ever played and almost perfectly balanced. While the musical score and audio is fairly basic, they do a wonderful job of immersing you in unfolding events. Best of all its a very polished game. Even if some Mac users are having problems with playing it.
If you are after a basic but enjoyable zombie apocalypse survival simulator then you should pick up a copy when the price is right for you!