INFECTONATOR / Armor Games / PC
 
                    Fuck tha po-lice comin' straight from the zombie class
 
One of the big knocks against American culture is that it's always been bizarrely Puritanical about any depiction of sex in media, yet more than happy to show gratuitous violence. For decades, this was blamed on a dominant Christian culture, military-industrial propaganda and a number of other top-down, heirarchical political/social structural reasons. Then we get the Internet, we get social media, the formerly marginalized and disenfranchised get a bigger voice and get media creators increasingly paying attention to them and shaping content for their sensibilities ... and we're still in the same damn place. Before we couldn't have tits in games because Sin, now we can't have them because Misogyny.

So we're at war with sexualizing women now, but a game like Infectonator can slip through with nary a protest or even a batted eye. A game where the goal is to zombify and eventually destroy humanity, using explosives and other weapons to directly kill innocents in addition to your zombie hordes, and where you get Cheevos for racking up certain amounts of police officer kills. I  guess part of it is that it's done in a retro, lo-fi, cutesy way. Probably a bigger part of it is that mobile gaming is still largely seen as something distinct and separate from "core gaming" and isn't subject to the same level of scrutiny (despite reaching just as large of an audience). But I get the feeling if any SJWs decided to turn their Eye of Sauron on the game, the biggest point of contention would be that one of your rewards is dressing up the ample-breasted news girl in a variety of sexy outfits.

But let this not be mistaken for an anti-violence-in-games screed (you did notice the 4/5 on the way in, right?). Just a little light social criticism to liven up what would otherwise be a rote introduction of the game's premise. Somewhat like Plague Inc., the goal here is nothing short of world domination through infectonation, but in this one you're taking a more up-close and hands-on approach. You'll gradually work through the cities of the world, attempting to kill all their residents (limited to only several hundred at most confined to a lone screen to keep things manageable) with a combination of your zombie armies and a variety of support weapons used for direct attacks, like dropping a grenade in the midst of a crowd or scattering land mines at a strategic crossroads.

As with much of the mobile library, this is a grind-focused game, having you repeat cities to earn enough money to boost the stats of your zombies, unlock new beasts and stock up on secondary weapons. But the grind is balanced at a manageable level such that you can play without making any micropayments for boosts and still make good headway without having to repeat the same levels an excessive amount of times.

The action is admittedly samey, but Armor's effort in aesthetics really helps here. It's one of the few "retro-style" games to actually look very appealing, the chiptunes soundtrack is catchy, and there's some humor between the oddball quips of the hapless NPCs roaming about and the equally odd news updates from aforementioned Sexy Reporter. The gradual drip of both monsters and new weapons is also well paced, and each city has multiple objectives to complete before it's crossed off your list.

As with some other Android games I've scored highly (like Crossy Road), you have to take this one within the context of the "five minute game", something to play in short bursts during idle waits rather than binge-play at long stretches. But for that purpose it does very well. The SJWs might succeed in getting sexual fantasy (at least of the male-oriented hetero variety) banned from our games, but at least nihilistic humor doesn't seem to be under attack just yet.
 
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