Genre: Rail Shoot-Em-Up
Platform(s): Nintendo DS
Allegiance: EnjoyUp, Gammick Entertainment
Vintage: 2008
Rating: T
Intelligence Agency Report by: Tricky
After the death of the Big Bad Wolf at the hands of Red Riding Hood and the Woodcutter several years ago, all has been peaceful in Story Land. Following the Woodcutter’s mysterious death, however, a plague spreads across the kingdom, turning its residents (and more than a few beloved storybook characters) into shambling monstrosities. It’s up to Red Riding Hood and her friend Momotaro (of Japanese folklore) to trace the plague to its source, and burn any zombie that gets in their way.

Weapons Expert Report by: Tricky
Story/Premise
Gameplay
Impact
Visual
Audio
8.75
5.75
4.00
8.50
6.00
Overall 7.00
 

Version Reviewed: Nintendo DS 

Budget games are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, since everyone seems to agree that top-tier game prices are quite unreasonable, they welcome how digital distribution has allowed for some fine, independently-made games at more reasonable prices. On the other hand, it seems clear that most gamers still implicitly think that if a game can be found in the discount bin, it must not be good. Certainly said bin ends up being the destination for most below-average TV show adaptations and any of thousands of variations of puzzle games, but one should always be ready to watch out for the odd hidden gem. Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ is one such gem. I picked it up used at a game shop for about five bucks, and saw a new copy selling for fifteen. While it’s not nearly as polished as a high-budget release, it packs quite a bit of value into that price. 

Darker and edgier recreations of fairy-tale characters are nothing new, and zombies seem to be a required inclusion of every contemporary game release. However, the combination retains plenty of charm and the design team clearly took time in their reinterpretations. Reanimated Grandma corpses throwing teeth at you? The Three Little Pigs now grim post-apocalyptic bunker-survivalists? Pinocchio’s puppet parts attempting to claw away from his infected human side? There’s a lot of gory fun to be had here, and the 3D graphics are exceptional for the DS. 

This is not to say that the game is wholly without flaws. The stylus/D-Pad control system is incredibly clunky and can be quite the curse for a shooter game, which by definition requires expertly dodging enemy attacks and shooting as accurately as possible. There will definitely be a moment where you tap somewhere expecting to shoot something and your character chooses to move there instead… right in the way of a zombie attack. This makes the game much harder than it needs to be, especially when the difficulty is already unforgiving of mistakes. Also, while the enemies and levels are well-designed, they do have the tendency to get repetitive, especially since you’ll probably have to run through them a couple times before you’re able to beat them. 

I’d probably be less forgiving had I shelled out more for it, but Zombie BBQ’s high charm and low cost make up for a lot. The humor is funny, the horror is scary, the price is right, and while it’s not quite a classic, it’s a solid release and a good, if occasionally frustrating, time.