Indie developer RealityZ’s Too Many Humans is the most purely entertaining zombie game I’ve played in some time, finding similarities between Pikmin and the Zerg rush of StarCraft but delivering something unique for a time in which kindness to the living and the dead, seems more essential than ever.
For decades, games about zombies have essentially been built around a foundation of fear for our fellow man. Your neighbor, for example, may look and sound like you, but perhaps, somewhere deep inside, they want to smash your head in and feast on your brain. So begins an intriguing study of our culture as it pits humanity against its dreadful self.
Too Many Humans takes that premise a step further by building on the notion that, even in our best days, we humans have become the scum of the Earth and now the zombies, led by a sinister demon, have banded together to rid the planet of our presence once and for all. It’s an intriguing thought, and I am slightly surprised that not many developers have toyed with that concept.
The zombies in this game all perform more or less the same function in all zombie games which include shuffling inexorably toward the direction you point to and are drawn by their insatiable appetite for human flesh. The tasks of the humans in the game are multifaceted: (1) to attempt to destroy or control the zombies, (2) to flee the zombies in panic, and (3) to be infected and turn into zombies themselves. All bad options if you ask me.
Your role is to guide your zombie horde from level to level taking out as much of the human population as possible. You do this by taking control of a Screamer, to whom the zombie automatically rally around like moths to a light bulb. Move the screamer from one area to another and the zombies follow without question or hesitation.
Zombies can also mutate, creating in essence, super zombies who can break down barriers and tear apart machine-gun-wielding structures. The more mutations a zombie can undergo the more powerful they become until you have a formidable force that can take out even the most hardened defenses. And one fascinating thing about zombies is that they can, unlike our human counterparts, be resurrected meaning you’ll always have a squad of them where ever you go.
But our zombie friends have other problems to deal with, notably, they’re upstaged by the various glitches in the game. First, zombies don’t always attack humans even when they are directly within arms length making them easy targets for humans to shoot at. Second, the pathfinding AI still needs work as you’ll often see zombies getting stuck around crevices and tight spaces which forces you to backtrack to find them. Fortunately, there’s a hotkey to gather all your zombies quickly. And lastly, there doesn’t seem to be any type of controller support that a game like this should include since it is a straight-up action game, but the mouse/keyboard combo works just as well right out of the box.
Aesthetically, Too Many Humans host a marvel of graphical effects, with festoons of rotting flesh dangling from their bones all the while moaning and shrieking their sad suffering tunes. Truth to be told, they look a lot better than the zombies in most games, but the action is so hectic at times that you never really get a chance to appreciate the details. It would have been nice if we were able to zoom in closer to the action or have a cinematic view of the carnage around us.
Social zombie jokes aside, Too Many Humans is a wildly fun action game, meticulously paced and constructed, and with just the right amount of action and humor. In many ways, it is what Nintendo’s Pikmin would be if it had been placed inside a post-apocalyptic world. Like most games of its type, Too Many Humans is utterly rambunctious in every possible way but unlike a lot of them, it at least has a healthy sense of its own absurd nature that comes as a blessed relief.
So what’s the ending on a game like this? Well, I suppose this would have to end with good and evil going head-on in one final struggle with only one side claiming victory. The gaming audience wouldn’t stand for everybody being dead, even though that would be the most logical of outcomes. The game is piecemealed into stories, chapters, and events with more content planned for the Holidays and the early part of 2022. So we shall see how this apocalypse pans out.
Overall, I found myself enjoying Too Many Humans a great deal, and while I cannot guarantee that everyone playing it will feel the same way, I firmly believe it possesses a certain charm that will appeal to many gamers as long as they give it a chance. It’s fast, it’s fun, and will have you pondering the question of who really are the monsters in this world.