Shaq Versus Evil Mutant Zombies

"Shaq Versus Evil Mutant Zombies!" Best. Tagline. Ever.

If only he unleashed these powers at the free throw line...
Are you tired of the whole zombie craze yet? What if those zombies happen to be mutants in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? What if the hero protagonist in all this mess was, oh, I don't know, 7'1'', 325-lb former NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal?

Yes, someone on this earth not only conceived of this, but managed to produce it, even going so far as getting the man of steel himself to lend his voice.

ShaqDown (Android, iOS) is One Spear Entertainment's first outing. Their business model apparently consists of building mobile games around celebrities, and we'll see 3 more by the end of the year, according to One Spear's website.

Gameplay is simple and immediate, and frankly much more enjoyable than I thought it would be given the nature of the material. As Shaq, or the Justice Bringer as he's referred to in-game, players barrel through one of three lanes, swiping up or down to jump between the three in order to either steamroll or avoid the three types of mutant zombies. Gamers can choose either story or survival mode. Story is comprised of only three levels, however.

The standard mutant zombie poses zero threat to the mighty Shaq Diesel -- they can be plowed through with ease. Mutating zombies, on the other hand, must be avoided, or taken out with an attack. Yes, even mutant zombies can mutate -- it's a scientific fact. They can be dodged, or swipe up or down the moment before colliding with the spiked mutating zombies to uppercut or windmill through them, respectively. Tap the right side of the screen to shoot a free throw (I kid you not), which will devolve these mutant zombies and allow them to be bum rushed. The third variety, the armored zombie, can only be thwarted with a super attack, which the Justice Bringer can perform only if he has sufficient meter, earned by eliminating the other two zombie types. Otherwise, these behemoths must be dodged. One collision with a mutating or armored zombie and you'll have to restart the level from the beginning. Each level also features a boss character.

All art and sprites in the game were illustrated by UDON and Capcom artist Long Vo, notable for being the lead sprite designer for Super Street Fighter 2: HD Remix.

As ridiculous as the game might be, it's actually pretty fun. You'll find yourself sucked into the fast-paced gameplay, with the usual replay inducing devices like unlocks, achievements, and in-game currency, "Shaqra", which players can use to purchase jersey upgrades that affect gameplay.

If I have one complaint, it's that playing on an iPad 4, the positioning of Shaq on the screen makes it a little tricky swiping quickly with the left thumb, unless one has Shaq-sized digits. Hey, it's a better game than Shaq-Fu, at least. Available for iOS and Android.

Not to be confused with Shaq's Little Fishy Things.

About Jay Vega