Thorn: Zombie Dungeon Survival by Good Controller LLC is, as the title may have suggested, a dungeon survival game. This game however is not going to put you up against traps, have you solve any sort of logic games or tease you into finding a way to survive while also trying to escape. It’s simply a hack ‘n slash game.
With retro looking graphics and some pretty sweet Diablo 1-esque environments, Thorn definitely sets the right mood for a zombie survival game. The action is good, though not quite “intense”, as the axe swings are just that. Axe swings that are done from up close and that almost guarantee you will be hit back.
Your little viking’s health is equal to your current score, which increases with every zombie killed, so maintaining a high score is crucial to the advancement in the game.
The problems with Thorn are pretty obvious from the very get go. All Zombies are virtually identical (so anyone who’s been spoiled by L4D styled “special undead” can forget about that), with the exception that they all have first names. On the Iphone/pod screen however, that doesn’t really matter much, as you’ll barely see them.
Each level has a timer on it, and you need to reach the exit before your time runs out. This wouldn’t be too bad if you had the slightest clue where the exit was, however, as there is no map except for a radar telling you where zombies are, that isn’t going to happen. The narrow corridors and hallways lead you into rooms that fork into separate corridors, leading to a lot of frustration when you realize you have only 10 seconds left to find the actual exit. Thought it was this way? Nope, it was down the other corridor, then down the one on the left. Tough luck.
Unfortunately the game does not have any sort of check points, although that is to be expected of a survival game. That means however, that each time you either die or miss the door to the next level, you go back to level 1.
You’ll keep running into crates that contain either health potions to restore your missing lifejuice, or secondary weapons (throwable ones). There are some very neat throwing weapons in the game, such as bombs that when reaching the enemy blow up into more bombs, or shuriken that you can design a path for by sliding your finger on the touch screen. These all have limited ammo though so use them sparingly.
Another negative aspect of the game is that if you pick up any such secondary weapon upgrades, the moment you run out of ammo, you revert to your original throwing weapon, a tomahawk that does pathetic damage, as opposed to your previous upgrade. So for instance if you have 3 more shuriken and pick up 6 bombs, once you’re out of the bombs, you revert to the tomahawk.
Adding the option to select which weapon to use would have been nice, and we were also surprised to notice that Thorn does not have Game Center enabled, only a local leaderboard.