Players can finally experience Stubb’s quirky take on the zombies again on semi-current consoles with his latest release for Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.
Although the next generation of video game consoles has officially begun, many titles from around 10-15 years ago are making a comeback. This is especially the case with the Playstation Store and Nintendo eShop, which are home to several independent titles and remakes of games from past generations. One of those games is Stubbs the Zombie in Pulseless Rebel, a third-person action title originally released on Xbox and Windows in 2005. Combining retro sound and aesthetics with brain-eating action, the game is in many ways similar to Destroy all humans!, exchanging aliens for zombies. The first game from developer Wideload Games, it was intentionally created to be the opposite of franchises like Capcom. Demonic resident.
Stubbs It has a pretty storied history of being relaunched on other consoles, as it was released on Steam in 2007 only to be pulled from service later. It was also placed on the Xbox Live Marketplace the following year, but was later removed due to technical issues. Fortunately, players can finally experience StubbThe peculiar version of the zombies again on semi-current consoles with its latest release for Switch, PS4 and Xbox One.
The game has players take on the role of the eponymous Stubbs the Zombie, who was once a simple street vendor in the 1930s before being killed and subsequently resurrected as a zombie in a futuristic version of the 1950s. His exploits occur in fictional Punchbowl, Pennsylvania, which is a high-tech city of tomorrow built on Stubb’s grave. Returning as a zombie, Stubbs seeks revenge on the townspeople and the maniacal industrialist behind the creation of Punchbowl. Along the way, he earns the contempt of the military and discovers the truth about what happened to his long-lost love.
The basic gameplay has Stubbs crawling around town, attacking citizens, and what else, eating their brains. Usually, you will have to slap them a bit before you can feast on their mental affairs, especially in the case of armed and armored police officers. Along the way, he learns how to use several different zombie powers that aid him in his quest for revenge against Punchbowl. These include possessing others with his severed hand, using other body parts like bowling balls and bombs, as well as unleashing toxic zombie flatulence.
However, his most vital talent is converting others to his cause. Eating the brains of the citizens of Punchbowl not only replenishes Stubbs’ health, but also turns the slain remains into undead zombies like Stubbs. They will follow him and attack enemies for him, inevitably creating more of his kind to fight alongside his progenitor. Stubbs can also take over the game’s futuristic vehicles, which can launch projectiles at enemies or run them over at high speeds. He also helps Stubbs a Guidebot, one of the most technologically advanced citizens of the city who teaches him to use different moves and generally to be a threat to Punchbowl society.
Complementing the 1950s scene is the music and general aesthetics of the time. Although sung by modern artists, the songs in the game are also hits from the 30s, 40s and 50s, combining with the dynamic designs of the game’s venues. There is also the irreverent humor of the title, which parodies the eras in question, the sci-fi movies of the 50s and the horror tropes. This has the effect of making the game less of a survival horror game and more of an action-adventure comedy.
Double the Stubbs
The game is based on the same engine as aura, which is very noticeable in the cooperative multiplayer of the game. The second player can control another zombie named Grubbs through split-screen multiplayer in what feels like a third-person variant of the popular Bungie title. The aforementioned vehicles feel incredibly similar and highlight how Stubbs takes game elements from a different genre and makes them his own.
The game’s biggest hurdles are the same as they were at launch 15 years ago, although they’re certainly not a deal breaker. As much fun as the overall gameplay is, there isn’t too much variation throughout the game beyond the additional zombie powers that Stubbs gains. In other words, things are pretty much the same throughout the entire process, without much diversity in the way of gameplay mechanics outside of occasional vehicle use. Part of this is also due to how invariable the combat mechanics are, with the increasing number of zombie abilities only slightly diminishing it. To be fair, the game itself isn’t incredibly long, although this is perhaps another problem. Ultimately, it is quite short for those who really enjoy the game, although this adds replay value. Another complaint is that, being a zombie, Stubbs is quite elusive in his speed, which can be compounded in larger areas of the game.
On this same note, the game can also be quite easy, as Stubb’s health regenerates when performing basic attacks. The accompanying horde of zombies helps him too, causing enemies to drop like flies and join his ranks in seconds. This can be reduced a bit on higher difficulties, but the normal game is relatively straightforward. Beyond these problems, however, Stubbs the Zombie is a fun-filled throwback of survival horror games, combining addictive gameplay with fun twists on tropes and cliches. Players who want a zombie game that satirizes the 1950s should check out the title.
Developed by Widleoad and published by Aspyr, Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without A Pulse will be released on March 16, 2021 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
The publisher provided CBR with a copy of this title for review purposes.
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