Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies Review

The enjoyable Nazi Zombie levels of the console versions of Call of Duty: World at War are alive and well in this mobile game.

The Call of Duty series has become an international phenomenon, and 2008's Call of Duty: World at War took everyone by surprise with its outstanding "Nazi Zombie" cooperative multiplayer mode. This mode has now made its way to mobile handsets, and despite some shortcomings, the iPhone version of World at War is an impressive game.

Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies brings frantic zombie-stomping to the iPhone.
Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies brings frantic zombie-stomping to the iPhone.

Unlike the usual squad-based gameplay seen in the Call of Duty series, the Nazi Zombies mode places you in a walled-in map filled with oncoming undead Nazis and requires you to stay alive for as long as possible. While this starts off easy, hordes of zombies eventually start to rush you in large groups and you must use everything at your disposal, including an extravagant array of weapons, grenades, and barricades, to combat them.

While blowing zombies apart is exciting, it's the graphics in this port of Nazi Zombies that really make it impressive. It looks so good it could almost pass for a full-on console game, and even when tons of zombies are onscreen the frame rate rarely stutters. The lighting is also good--enemies and scenery clearly stand out while not detracting from the game's eerie atmosphere.

World at War: Zombies also shows impressive attention to detail. Different guns have their own reload animations, and the abandoned factory level is believably littered with junk. The game uses multiple injury and death animations for zombies depending on where you hit them, including bloody explosions that reward headshots.

One unique aspect of the game is its sense of progression. You start off with only a pistol on the base level of a map, but as you collect more money, you can destroy objects blocking your path and adventure through the massive factory. As you progress, you can purchase new weapons and secrets. Eventually, you'll get your mitts on such powerful weaponry as a high-powered dart gun, a flamethrower, and a double-barreled shotgun. Each weapon has its own unique properties, and all are useful when mastered.

You can purchase new weapons as you earn money from killing zombies.
You can purchase new weapons as you earn money from killing zombies.

Controls are always important for a shooter, and the dual-stick option (which you can customize with an inverted y-axis and adjustable sensitivity for both axes) works very well. Movement works just as it would with a standard console controller (the left onscreen stick is used for walking while the right is used to look around). You fire your weapon by tapping on the right stick, and if you double-tap and hold it down you release a steady stream of bullets. There are two additional control settings, but those are less precise. In addition, the game offers a "smart targeting" aim-assistance system that can't be turned off unless you're zooming in with a scoped weapon. When you target an enemy, your crosshairs will snap to that foe to give you a better chance of scoring a hit. You still need to make some adjustments in order to score headshots, but this feature generally seems helpful.

The original version of Nazi Zombies on consoles was most popular as a co-op game, and this version of the game brings zombie-stomping co-op to the iPhone in all its glory. Occasional connection issues aside, online (only over a wireless connection, not 3G), local Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth multiplayer all work great. Though you can queue up randomly for the next game, World at War: Zombies also lets you host a private match. Trying to hunt down a specific match hosted by your buddies can sometimes be a pain, since game names are case-sensitive and require you to be very specific when entering the name.

You can pick up heavier weapons over the course of a game session.
You can pick up heavier weapons over the course of a game session.

The biggest shortcoming in this version of the game is the amount of content you get. With only one map available, there will never be much variation in your strategy. However, with dozens of achievements up for grabs and online leaderboards to compete on, there's definitely some replay value here. World at War: Zombies is a great port of the extremely successful multiplayer mode from Call of Duty: World at War. The lack of content, high price point, and occasional connection issues with the servers are somewhat disappointing, but gunning zombies with your buddies is still a blast.

This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner

The Good
Just like the original game
Online co-op multiplayer and leaderboards
Great graphics
Mimics dual analog stick controls well.
The Bad
Pricey for only one map
Forming private groups for multiplayer is a pain
Some online connectivity issues.
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Call of Duty: World at War - Zombies More Info

  • First Released Nov 16, 2009
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    Four Massive Zombie Maps. One Great New Price. Now includes the ALL-NEW fan favorite, Der Riese, the largest, most feature-rich Zombie map to date. This is the ultimate Co-op experience for the iPhone/iPod Touch!“Der Riese” (Zombie Factory) features:•The all-new Pack A Punch Machine allows you to upgrade ANY of your weapons: Increased Firepower, More Ammo, and a new Metal Finish.•New Teleporters allow you and your team to zip around this enormous map and evade the oncoming Zombie Horde.•The Bowie Knife allows to you take down higher level zombies in one quick blow.•Favorites such as the Hell Hounds, the Wunderwaffe lightning gun, and the Perks-a-Cola Machines return.•The online 4-player co-op action you've come to expect returns with even more intensity.“Shi No Numa” (Zombie Swamp) features:•Shi No Numa is a hauntingly beautiful environment filled with terrifying zombies, weapons, and zombie traps.•New weapons featuring the Wunderwaffe DG-2. Fry hordes of zombies with a single blast from this shockingly powerful new weapon.•Survive the Hellhounds! Ferocious and fast, the Hellhounds will test your reflexes and your team's ability to work together.•New playable characters! Play as Tank Dempsey (US), Takeo Masaki (Japan), Nikolai Belinski (USSR), and the infamous Dr. Richtofen (Germany).•New Zombie traps including the Flogger for massive Zombie destruction and the Zipline for quick getaways.Call of Duty: Zombies also includes:•“Verrückt” (Zombie Asylum): Dare to enter the insane asylum and fend off the Zombie onslaught alone or with friends. Use electric traps to keep the zombies at bay.•“Nacht der Untoten”: The original zombie map returns in all its glory. Fight to survive in the abandoned bunker that started the zombie phenomenon.About Call of Duty: Zombies:Call of Duty: Zombies brings the classic Call of Duty: World at War zombie-slaying game mode to the iPhone™ and iPod® Touch. Featuring ALL 4 Zombie maps, you’ll need to bring along your friends to help push back the endless waves of attacking zombies!Highlights include:- Call of Duty: Zombies for the iPhone™ supports up to four players via Wi-Fi/Internet and two players via Bluetooth. Play with your friends in the same room, on the other side of town, and even across the globe. With the option of either private or open matchmaking, where there’s a Wi-Fi connection, there’s a friend to go Zombie-hunting with.*- This is the Zombie experience from Call of Duty: World at War. All 4 Zombie maps have been fully realized on the iPhone™ in a silky smooth 3D environment, along with the return of your favorite guns and killer power ups. - Three different control schemes are available to suit your style. Take advantage of the iPhone’s unique tilt capabilities or, for Zombie vets, use the virtual analog sticks to fend off the undead.- Call of Duty: Zombies features a massive list of unique Achievements.- Leaderboard support awards the best of the best, accessed directly through your iPhone™ or iPod® Touch. Become the top zombie slayer and prove your standings to the world!So snap to attention, pick up Call of Duty: Zombies, and start fending off the zombie horde!*Wi-Fi support only at this time, play unavailable on cellular networks.Note: Call of Duty: Zombies is best played on a 2nd generation iPod® Touch or higher with the latest firmware installed.
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    Vivendi Universal Games Mobile, Activision
    Action, First-Person, Shooter, 3D