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Aftermath

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CNET Editors' review

Aftermath is a challenging, top-down, zombie-themed arcade shooter with innovative dual-stick controls and a dread-inducing atmosphere.

Similar to other dual-stick shooters, you move around and fire with two touch-screen virtual joysticks, one under each thumb. What Aftermath does differently (and which greatly contributes to the game's tense, anxious feel) is that the left joystick controls movement while the right joystick just turns you left and right, letting you light up the otherwise dark, urban terrain with your handheld flashlight--and automatically using the weapon you're holding to "light up" any zombies in the field of your flashlight. Because you can only clearly see what's in front of you (except during occasional, dramatic flashes of lightning, which illuminate the whole screen), you have to constantly scan for new enemies, all while running and gunning to progress through each mazelike level. The game's levels provide a good, incremental tutorial to help you along, as you acquire new weapons (including grenades, which you tap on a spot to throw) and face different types of zombies (such as acid-spitting Spewers and speedy Screamers).

Even with its somewhat rudimentary 3D graphics (which help keep the game speedy), Aftermath uses sound, light, and its cleverly claustrophobic control scheme to establish a convincing horror vibe--producing much more unease and creepiness than zombie games that rely more on mere gore. Unfortunately, Aftermath is short, with just eight unlockable levels and a survival mode, and it also has no difficulty settings, which might otherwise help smooth out the game's punishing learning curve for more casual players. That said, Aftermath is a seriously fun and seriously scary shooter that zombie fans will love.

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