Empire Z is Ember Entertainments latest entry into the zombie genre. Despite the splash screen showing a group of zombies attacking four heavily armed heroes perched atop a taxi, Empire Z plays as a standard mobile city builder / strategy game and has little to do with zombies.
The idea of zombies could have made a very interesting strategy game. A severe lack of resources, risking the people and equipment you have to go forage for needed supplies, having to sacrifice any of your soldiers who were bit or risk everyone turning into zombies. But alas, despite the different art this plays like your cookie cutter OSG, rather set in space or antiquity.
While there are infected troops, do not expect your city to be overrun by hordes of the undead. In Empire Z the attacking is done by other players attacking with jeeps, buses, soldiers, alongside the infected. The attacks are played out instantly with a simple report…no tactics, or action here…just a virtual roll of the dice making Empire Z’s battle as shallow as the game’s zombie theme.
The core gameplay is like most other city building games. Build your cities buildings, walls, and defenses; Train troops, and constantly upgrade researches while farming resources from nearby resource tiles. Grinding is a huge part of Empire Z unless you have the budget of a small country to spend. Buying gold to speed up every aspect of play is the easiest way to progress, but items are not cheap. Players wanting to compete or see their names on the leaderboard will spend their kids’ college fund on this game in quick order.
In each city there is a hero which gives you benefits as he levels up and you gain more power. He has his own skill tree which is basically city improvements similar to what’s available in the research center. His only actual skill is that he can join your troops and infected on marches and give them a boost to their attack and defense.
Alliances do play a part in Empire Z, and adds the social element. If organized and active alliances can wreak havoc on players even if they have huge armies due to there is no truce after an attack, troops do not regenerate, buildings do not repair themselves, and if you’re a money player all that cash evaporates after 20 -30 attacks during one of the weekly kill events.
As in Game of War, most alliances try to teleport into a central hive for better defense. This results in players teleporting out of the hive to attack an enemy then teleporting back. This actually can be rather fun when a group of players invade an area all at once and commence to laying waste and devastation. Teleports are not cheap though so be prepared to spend some more gold.
Empire Z will appeal to most players who enjoy the progression of troops and city building upgrades along with the never-ending pursuit of more power and resources. Finding an active alliance which socializes will make the time pass while queues are full. New content seems to be coming out on a regular basis for Ember Entertainment so it will be interesting to see where they take it. Empire Z will appeal to the casual strategy player or city builder. So go check it out in the app store.