Tag Archives: theANTONI

REVIEW: Medieval Zombies

Medieval Zombies ($1.00) brings forth yet another FPS game built on the time-tested practice of slaughtering legions of undead. Well, it’s more a first-person hack & slasher than shooter, but you get the idea. You better get the idea by now. This is the part where I blah blah blah, filler filler filler, and it’s like every wave-based zombie game you’ve ever heard of or played. No need to rehash or explain away the plot, because none of that matters once the zombies shuffle onscreen.

The game’s name implies a retro hook, and to some extent, it does feature some of that ‘ye olde design’. There are no traditional firearms in Medieval Zombies. (Semi-)true to the time period1, your roster of weapons includes things like swords, dual daggers, a lance, or a very-slow-firing crossbow. It’s also involves thousands… nay, millions, of the blockiest, schlockiest, barely-animated zombies you’ve ever laid eyes on. Looks aren’t everything, right? Right? Of course.

Thankfully, the zombie AI is well done in its place, with enemies reacting not just to your presence, but also to things like noise and player taunts, allowing you to wrangle together dozens of walkers for a massive kill-off and / or to lure them away from chests and other potential treasure-seeking moments. And looting items and weapons is the key component here, giving you extra food (to maintain energy) and bandages (to heal yourself or fallen allies2), or the potential to snag a better damage-dealing armament.

Better weapons means you clear out stages quicker… at the cost of durability. This game subscribes to Silent Hill‘s school of hard knocks, meaning its melee weapons dull and eventually break over time / repeated use. There’s plenty of chests to open on each map, but the limited space in your bag (6 slots) means you’ll have choose wisely between healing items and weapons, as well as stat-boosting passive upgrades to your armor, which allow for certain perks like decreased energy drain, or faster chest-searching.

Medieval Zombies - Screen

That careful trade-off in item management is interesting and requires thought (as well as the zombie-free space to think), but the action itself is cookie-cutter and monotonous. With swarms regularly reaching into the hundreds of zombies, you can see why. And if you should die, the game places you at the start of the ‘day’ you fell on, taking away all your progress and inventory… and any desire to rebuild your arsenal. The promise of a million zombies on a single map is a nice thought, but the banal gameplay leading up to that means you’ll have hacked and slashed your way through your fill of cloned zombies long before you reach that promised land.

For better or worse, the Undead are a genre all on their own, but at the end of the day, Medieval Zombies is just another entry in that category. There’s no real draw or hook, and it’s not really a viable substitute or alternative for something like the recently-reviewed Deadburg, which balances its zombies with exploration and crafting. By comparison, Medieval Zombies is ultra repetitive, visually unkempt, and unfortunately… not very fun.


  1. King Arthur never dealt with any zombies that I was aware of, and I actually paid attention in school. 
  2. Each round you get a handful of faithful knights that will randomly go around slaying zombies in your stead, cutting down on the high enemy counts over time. You’ll still be doing most of the heavy lifting— i.e. slaughtering— yourself. Natch. 

REVIEW: Really Scary

Really Scary ($1.00) is the fourth title (in as many months) from developer Chris Antoni to feature a low-budget horror set and Five Nights At Freddy’s– style jump scares, with the tension created by said scares meant to provide the enjoyment1 and impetus to keep playing. As with any long-running franchise, though, you risk alienating your audience with repeated releases that only fractionally change the core gameplay. Really Scary is thus really familiar, leaving this series (and its idea) running on fumes.

Really Scary - Screen

That depends… we talking about what I did last summer, or did I just leave the toilet seat up again?

This new outing attempts to once again mash together the two play styles of the previous games, asking you to navigate a supposedly haunted house via on-screen control prompts and tackle the usual gameplay of perusing in-house camera feeds in order to ward off your would-be murderers. Your chief antagonists here are bloodied and / or decapitated teddy bears speaking demonic gibberish (good nightmare fuel for your kids!), but the goal of survival and the perks of steady nerves remain the same.

There is some very light puzzle-work to be done as well, mainly in triggering the next ‘event’ or in choosing the correct door, but the real threat comes from watching your attackers inch closer to your safe room. Said intruders are scared off when you turn to face them, with the trade-off of having a limited amount of time to do so. Disappointingly, you should know the drill by now, and even these moments feature the same obligatory quick scares and sound effects found in the other games.

Really Scary - Screen2

Well… bonus points for the old school console love.

It should surprise no one then that Really Scary doesn’t differ much from previous installments (you have to give the people what they want, I guess), though it does offer up some of the smoothest camera transitions and pseudo-FMV so far2. That increased fidelity comes at a cost, however, as this game is also on the shorter end of playtime. It took me about 25 minutes to reach the conclusion, even allowing for a few mistakes in-between.

Brevity aside, there’s not much here that’s new or fresh enough to warrant another purchase, and the recycled bits have lost their edge. I hate to pull out this old gem of a saying, but if you’ve played one of the games from this collection, you’ve really played them all. Granted, there’s been some decent scares along the way, but let’s hope this series now takes a very long hiatus3.


  1. If you’re into that sort of thing, of course. 
  2. No choppy frames – motion sickness = yay! 
  3. At least until next Halloween, please. 

REVIEW: Scarlet the Zombie Slayer

There’s simultaneously a feeling of odd comfort and outright dread whenever I get the news I’m covering another zombie game here. For every stellar title that switches up the formula, I get half a dozen vanilla (pun intended) games that do the bare minimum and expect to get by on popular culture alone. It’s maddening. But hey, at least this one’s not a goddamn wave shooter!1 Rather, Scarlet the Zombie Slayer ($1.00) is a (mostly) side-scrolling slasher of the undead… albeit hand-drawn outlines on a paper-esque background.

Scarlet the Zombie Slayer - Screen

Oh, and the two-headed dogs in this game can fuck right off. Bastards.

I’d imagine this game looks like the nightmares of an eight-year-old in motion2. That unsolicited thought and interesting art choice aside, the game plays much as you’d expect; our one-handed protagonist is a nifty wielder of the blade, slicing through lines of penciled corpses with relative ease. That’s a fancy way of saying that it’s a hack & slash, through and through, with the option of chucking unlimited axes as your long-range weapon. To compliment that fighting style, you generally move from point A to B in this overrun city, picking up items and healing kits placed in the environments.

In addition to the zombies, you’ll also fight super-sized rats(!), bees(!), and two-headed canines(!). There’s no real accounting for creatures like this in a supposed ‘zombie outbreak’, but hey, variety. You also get some exposition in the form of NPCs you encounter along the way, tasking you with short quests / rescue missions. These too, don’t stray too far from the ‘go here, kill this’ line, but you do occasionally partake in some God of War-esque QTEs that have you, say, exploding out of the eye socket of a giant bug, for example.

Scarlet the Zombie Slayer - Screen2

These bits are charming, but come few and far between the extended battles. Though the combat is straightforward and serviceable, it becomes tedious whenever the enemies grapple you. Sure, some of the zombie kill animations look neat once you wrestle free, but the molasses-slow ‘jump’ and constant ‘stunned’ movements whenever you’re attacked can make certain scenes a chore, and a little unfair (i.e., all fights with the aforementioned two-headed dogs). With no real way to dodge these enemies, you can find yourself repeating some segments over and over, which isn’t very fun.

And that theme applies to the game overall. With its so-so gameplay and vanilla style (pun definitely intended), Scarlet the Zombie Slayer is really only worth a look if you’re super hard up for another zombie game to play. Props go out to developer Chris Antoni for working with the materials and talent he has at hand, but some cheap and quickly-developed games can’t escape their label, and still come out feeling, well… cheap and quickly-developed.


  1. And my sanity thanks you, Mr. Antoni. 
  2. I’m pretty sure I mean that as a compliment, too, just so no eight-year-olds or the developer have any hard feelings. 

REVIEW: Magnet Man

Not to be confused with the Mega Man 3 boss by the same name, Magnet Man ($1.00) is yet another game by developer Chris Antoni1, a simple platformer using the power of magnets to fuel its type of predictable (yet occasionally smart) puzzle-solving. The idea isn’t exactly novel on its own— magnetized platformers being rather common— but when done right (on XBLIG, the excellent Magnetic By Nature comes to mind), it can attract2 an audience.

Magnet Man - Screen

Like MbN before it, this one’s similarly a platformer, albeit one starring a shirtless gladiator(?). I think. And yes, he has a magnet surgically-implanted on his arm, which he (of course!) uses to attach to and repel from the changing polarity of magnets that he can control (via switches). Or maybe he’s just carrying a magnet. It’s hard to tell, and doesn’t really have any effect on the game at all. There is no story or text of any kind, no motivation or impetus, just the ‘Job well done, sir!’ of setting a high score.

Save for the later levels, where some tiny penguin-like enemies show up (one hit equals death, so you simply avoid them), it’s just you and the magnet cannon. And a bunch of same-y looking stage designs between you and each exit. Your cannon is versatile, allowing you to attach yourself to ceilings or pull yourself straight across the length of the level, provided you are ‘lined up’ with said magnets, and on level ground. While that’s not exactly a twist on the formula, Magnet Man‘s insistence on those conditions does create some clever traversal puzzles and the occasional ‘how do I get there?’ moments.

Magnet Man - Screen2

This generally requires you to swap polarities, time your moves to disappearing bricks, or push a ‘boulder’ (sort of looks like a Transformers‘ head) with your cannon in order to create stairs or safe havens from spike pits. Expect to make a few mistakes, but the level of difficulty’ rests more on your patience than actual challenge; you have a limited amount of lives, but given that you can save at each new level, you’re never in any danger of losing your place.

That said, starting from the title and all the way to the graphics, Magnet Man is not very interesting. The gameplay is decent, but it’s all visually and tonally bland, lacks any sort of personality (sorry, Magnet Gladiator), and feels rough around the edges. With a little more time in the developmental oven it might fare better, but with far better (and far more inviting) magnetic platformers out there, there’s no real reason to invest your time here.


  1. I should really just change the name of this site to ‘theANTONI’, seeing as how I’ve been strictly reviewing games by him. It seems that way, certainly. 
  2. Only bad ‘magnet’ pun I’ll do, I swear. And I stick to my promises…. okay, fine. Just those two.