Those of you peeved that you can’t play Call of Duty: Zombies because it’s limited to Xperia phones until September 1 may want to check out SAS: Zombie Assault 3. It offers online multiplayer wave defense with lots of guns and perks.

SAS: Zombie Assault 3 uses a dual-joystick layout that works well enough given the game’s format. It can be tricky being precise without any guides in place. Zombies come in waves, and your sole goal is to stay alive long enough to mow them all down. As you might expect, the undead can hurt you pretty badly if they get close, so your job is to keep moving, keep shooting, and try not to work yourself into a corner where you’ll inevitably become surrounded.

Graphics and audio

Android Central

The graphics in SAS: Zombie Assault 3 aren’t particularly fancy. The textures are well-done, and there are some decent animations, but they’re for the most part repetitive and static-feeling. Many of the UI elements feel blatantly ripped off from Gameloft’s Modern Combat 3.

The audio is fairly well-done, at least. Every gun has its own unique sound byte, and the zombie snarling keeps things nice and tense. A bit of soundtrack would be nice to keep the excitement going between waves.

The writing throughout the game is really bad, and peppered with mistakes (not that I’m one to judge, or anything). 

Gameplay and controls

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Despite its mostly-unimpressive graphics, there are a decent number of levels, and a wide variety of zombies, each with different levels of health, attack, moving speed, and strategies. To keep the game from simply being a perpetual run-and-gun, players can earn experience points by repairing barricades, just like the Call of Duty: Zombies game.

There’s a rich progression structure whereby ranking up alternately unlocks a skill or a weapon to purchase. SAS: Zombie Assault 3 pushes in-app purchases a little too hard, though, offering power-ups that can straight-up put you up to the next rank, as well as locking some of the particularly sweet weapons (like the Browning machine gun and the flamethrower) to cash purchase only. Even your ammo is limited, forcing you to spend coin earned through previous gameplay just to keep going with anything other than the basic pistol. At least there are random weapon drops throughout every level that let you try out other guns for awhile without having to purchase them. You also get grenades between waves, but at perhaps to quick of a rate - before long, I find I’m loaded with a nigh-unusable amount of explosives.

Pros

  • Solid, action-packed multiplayer
  • Extensive progression structure

Cons

  • Pushy in-app purchases
  • Ho-hum graphics

Bottom line

SAS: Zombie Assault 3 will make a decent stand-in for Call of Duty: Zombies until the exclusive wears out, but it’s lacking the polish to retain any lasting appeal. The poor writing can be a serious downer, and the unoriginal idea might be a long-term turn-off. 

But hey, if you want to shoot zombies with some buddies on your phone without spending any money, this is one way to do it.