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Zombie Tycoon 2: Brainho...
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The Game Effect Review

Zombie Tycoon 2: Brainhov’s Revenge Review

Brainhov and Tycoon return

By Whitney Bulna on 4/29/2013
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take control of a herd of zombies rather than simply mowing them down with a shotgun? Zombie Tycoon 2: Brainhov's Revenge allows players to do just that, putting you in the shoes of various zombie hordes looking to snack on some brains and take over the town of Finkleville. This tactical real-time strategy game is a fun, quirky PSN title with a few flaws, but is nonetheless worth a go.

Brainhov is Back with a Vengeance!

 Zombie Tycoon 2: Brainhov's Revenge puts players in the role of Orville Tycoon, an evil mastermind looking to capitalize on the recent zombie outbreak by using the undead to conquer the world, one city at a time. Your arch-enemy, Dr. Brainhov, has returned to foil your plans for world domination by unleashing his own hordes of zombies. Together, the two foes create a slapstick comedy storyline that is simple yet effective. Despite a lack of dialogue--with only grunting and moaning similar to earlier installments in the Lego series-- all of the story elements come together to make for a fun experience that made me laugh out loud a few times.

Players can choose to be either Tycoon or Brainhov, but must ultimately use their zombie hordes to take over the city piece by piece. Various enemies, including Rednecks, Police, and the Military, will stand in your way, along with several environmental hazards. Your job is to control three different groups of zombies in order to overcome these obstacles. Two groups serve as squads that can work together or independently to take down enemies. Squads must attack various buildings and take them over in order to gain the advantage. Controlling buildings is key to expanding your horde, which can then be used for an all-out assault through what's called a "Dead Rush." Each acquired building adds one or two more zombies to the horde, ultimately adding up to 30 zombies that can be used to target a specific enemy or building using the R1 button. This is especially effective if you need to distract groups of enemies while squads try to take over a building.

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Players also control one monster via the X button. Your monster is the most powerful zombie in the group, and players can choose from four different types: Braintrust, Skidmark, Badgerker, or Bearhug. It can be used to take over buildings, defend Tycoon or Brainhov, or attack enemies. Your monster also has D-pad specific abilities that pack an extra punch in times of need. These attacks are very important when dealing with large groups of enemies or powerful Rednecks. As the monster's health drains, it becomes more and more powerful. This allows for stronger attacks and a higher chance of getting experience orbs. Players can level up their monster via experience orbs, which are dropped when an enemy is defeated. Once enough orbs are collected, new D-pad attacks can be obtained and used on enemies.

Squads can also be upgraded by taking over shops. While small houses add zombies to your Dead Rush ability, shops allow players to upgrade zombies to fit specific needs. Zombies can master the art of Kung-Fu and become samurais, who are very powerful and fast, or they can become irradiated at a nuclear power plant and infect enemies with harmful radiation. Shops can also serve as vital forms of defense if any enemies attempt to re-take the building. Watch Towers, for example, erase the dense fog covering unexplored areas of the map once they are taken over, and gun shops shoot at nearby enemies if they get too close. Everything has a purpose in Zombie Tycoon 2, and it all fits together very nicely.

Control Your Zombies with the Click of a Button

Controlling your squads is very simple as each squad is assigned to the Triangle, Circle, X or Square button. Your monster is assigned to the X button, while your two squads are assigned to the Circle and Square buttons. Your Triangle button is reserved for Tycoon's or Brainhov's mobile command spawner. This vehicle serves as the hub of your operations, spitting out new zombies as needed and offering up attacks of its own. It is important to protect the spawner because once it is destroyed, it's game over. This is where management becomes crucial as players must carefully plan how to protect the spawner while continuing to take over buildings and destroy enemies. The game is very user-friendly, and I never felt like I was in the dark when I encountered new gameplay elements, so management isn't particularly challenging.

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One issue I faced was the size of the cursor, especially when playing on the Vita. The cursor is very tiny, which can make selecting squads difficult, especially when they mix with enemies. I would try to protect my spawner by selecting enemies to shoot at, only to often end up moving the spawner directly into conflict because I missed selecting the enemy. Luckily the camera is at a fixed angle, and can be adjusted with the right and left stick. This aided the cursor issue somewhat, but it certainly did not resolve it.

If you are familiar with RTS games, then you are familiar with how the AI generally works. Games like Civilization and Halo Wars allow AI to automatically defend themselves if enemies attack first. In Zombie Tycoon 2, enemies must be selected in order for any sort of attack to be initiated. This can be frustrating at times, especially considering the issue with cursor size. Managing so many different elements of the game while simultaneously forcing zombies to defend themselves can be a bit annoying. However, in a way it makes sense because, well, zombies.


Players can face off against each other head-to-head in online multiplayer. Its a fun gameplay mode when players finish the single-player campaign, but its unnecessary. Multiplayer is largely unchanged from the single-player campaign, and only one map is available to play. Players simply try to take over the town and simultaneously defeat Tycoon or Brainhov (depending on who you choose). Multiplayer feels a bit like filler in comparison to the 3-5 hour single-player campaign, but it does add more chances to earn trophies if players enjoy a challenge. Cross-play between the PS3 and Vita is a nice, unexpected touch as well.

Overall Impression

 Zombie Tycoon 2: Brainhov's Revenge is a fun, simple game that seems perfect for PSVita/PS3 cross-play. While the $9.99 price feels a little expensive, players who own both systems and who have PS+ will get both versions for free. While the game has some mechanical issues, and may feel to short and simple, I had a lot of fun during my quest for world domination. If you're a fan of RTS and tower defense, you will definitely have fun with it.
The Good
  • Fun story
  • Simple and user-friendly controls
  • Utilizes gameplay elements well
The Bad
  • Small cursor
  • Too short
  • AI difficulties
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