Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys is a side-scrolling adventure game for the Nintendo DS that was announced with very little information to back it up earlier this month. The game's premise positively oozes B movie goodness from its every undead pore. Three teenage zombies, awoken from their underground slumber by a particularly noisy alien invasion, climb out of their graves with a bad case of the munchies and are thrilled to find that the aforementioned extra terrestrials bear more than a passing resemblance to (and are presumably every bit as tasty as) brains. Ignition Entertainment and developer InLight Entertainment showed off a work-in-progress version of the game recently. We're pleased to report that its amusing storyline isn't the only thing it has going for it.
For starters, Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys boasts some really great comic book-style presentation and even goes so far as to have you hold the DS on its side like a comic book while the story is told on both "pages." The in-game visuals are similarly pleasing to the eye, and the three playable brain eaters each have some amusing animations. The titular heroes also have some unique skills at their disposal, and at least two of them appear to have suffered quite grisly deaths.
For example, Lori "Lefty" Lopez is a basketball player who only has one arm. Her skills include jumping high, throwing punches at long range--courtesy of a partially severed wrist--and augmenting what's left of her missing arm with various gadgets, such as a vacuum cleaner. Zack "Half Pipe" Boyd, on the other hand, is a skateboarder with no legs who can move faster than the other zombies, jump off ramps, and assume something resembling the coffin position to roll through small gaps. Last up is Finnigan "Fins" Magee who appears to have done most of his suffering after death. He was buried a little too close to the sea, and after various aquatic creatures found their way into his coffin, he ended up with tentacles fused onto his back. Said additional limbs grant Fins some neat abilities, though, such as scaling vertical walls and hanging from ropes.
While playing on the top screen, instantly switching among characters will be easy as tapping their coffin on the touch screen or, if you prefer, pressing a button. The coffins are also used to store any character-specific power-ups that you find until you want to use them. We only got to see one such power-up during our time with the game: some kind of spicy food that gives Fins the ability to puke fire for about 20 seconds. We've no idea what the other power-ups might be at this point, but after seeing that one devastate a significant number of alien enemies, we're eager to find out. Eating the "alien brain thingys" will replenish your health, incidentally, but because you're a zombie, we're apparently supposed to refer to it as "unhealth."
In addition to lots of jumping between platforms and killing aliens, Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys will feature a number of minigames that figure into the story at various points during your adventure. We were afforded a brief look at one titled Power Line, which put the touch screen and stylus to good use by letting you pull back then release a power line between two buildings as if it were a rubber band. Using Lefty as a one-handed projectile, the goal was simply to crash her into alien brains and smash the jars that they fly around. Then, with subsequent flicks of the power line, you launch the tasty head muscles toward Fins who is standing on the left side of the screen.
In a nod to Nintendo's Brain Age (Brain Training if you're in the UK) series, Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys will also feature a number of brain-teasing challenges. The alien boss, Big Brain, forces you to complete these challenges as he tries to comprehend how it is that you're able to resist his mind-control techniques and raygun blasts. We didn't get to see any of the Big Brain challenges in action on this occasion, but our understanding is that they'll be quite similar to those found in the aforementioned Nintendo series, though presumably lacking the floating polygonal head of Dr Kawashima. Big Brain challenges will come in five difficulties or "brain ages," including baby, toddler, teen, adult, and royal.
Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys is currently scheduled for release during the second quarter of 2008. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.