Published on August 6th, 2012 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Hands-On Impressions: PopCap Presents Talking Zombatar
Platform: Apple iTouch, iPhone, iPad
Release Date: Fall/Winter 2012
From PopCap’s successful puzzler/casual game, Planets vs Zombies, comes an all new free-to-play application, Talking Zombatar. When we hear “free-to-play” for an iOS app, many mobile gamers immediately think of limited features while being flashed with advertisements. Although this is true for many F2P titles, this is not the case with Talking Zombatar.
A few days ago I sat down with Van Riker, who is the Plants vs. Zombies franchise marketing manager at PopCap Games, during EA’s Summer Showcase. There, he showed of the Talking Zombatar app which allows you to carry your very own zombie pet anywhere you go. You can customize his clothing, change facial expressions, make him go out and hunt for brains, and even teach him some dance moves–make your friends envy your undead friend by showing off your pet zombie. Just like any true pet lover, you can take pictures or videos of you and your family or friends with your pet zombie and share them via Facebook.
After being shown the basics of the application by Van, I was able to play and start customizing quickly and easily. The comedic charm of Planets vs. Zombies carries over to Talking Zombatar. This is shown through the various outfit options and dance moves you can choose from. The outfit options are not limited either: you can customize every section of your zombie from head-to-toe without having to stick with one outfit them. For example, you could have a viking hat with a clown shirt and foam finger gloves. A number of free applications only allows you to change the theme of your outfit.
I equipped my zombie with foam fingers, which proved to be the perfect accessory to show off my zombie’s dance moves. New clothing options are earned for free with the daily rewards, or by going hunting and finding brains. For those who are impatient, purchasing the clothing with actual cash is also an option. I was assured by Van that all of the clothing available in the in-app store will be available for free by earning them, but it will take time. Expect some sponsored items to also be available in the market. During the session I had received a sponsored hat from a top car company for finding brains on my hunt.
The dance moves are just as customizable as the clothing. In order to go into and create a new dance, you must first select the dance genre. The genre tab then opens up to a number of different moves. Pick between the different dance genres and moves to create a dance all of your own. Once finished, the application identifies all of the music on your device, leaving you to pick any song for your zombie to dance to. Your dancing zombie could dance alone or with you and your friends through augmented reality (AR).
You could share your zombie through pictures and video with the use of augmented reality (AR), which uses your phone’s camera to place your zombie against a real-life background. You can resize your zombie with pinch-in and pull-out finger swipes and position them anywhere in your scene. The application was unable to rotate to horizontal position for video and picture taking. However, the application was not in the final stages of development, but may be available once the app is released.
The Final Truth:
I am very impressed of the quality of Talking Zombatar. The game is rich with features and customization that is not often seen in free applications. Oh yeah, your pet zombie does repeat everything that you say to it. In my experience with it, my zombie was repeating Van and my conversation which lead to many funny moments. Who needs a real pet when you could have more fun with an undead one?