It is 1959 and in the idyllic city of Punchbowl, in Pennsylvania, the peace is about to be troubled. Murdered many years before, Edward “Stubbs” Stubblefield he rose from his burial place, and now there is only one thing on his mind: eat brains. Or at least initially, anyway. Thankfully, the plot behind it Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse it's really fun, and beyond just eating brains like there's no tomorrow, our adventures will bring us a story of love and revenge, peppered with endless hilarious gags. In fact, Stubbs is immediately reminded of the reason why he was murdered so many years ago: it was for love. Our (little) skinny hero decides to embark on a mission to reunite with his long-lost love, Maggie, and perhaps take revenge on her killer. Unfortunately, however, many years after its release, the game's light-hearted storyline is all that holds Stubbs' weary limbs on their feet.
The idea of a second chance in life has a certain appeal. You could make the same choices again, or you could learn from your mistakes to improve your destiny. Stubbs the Zombie was born in 2005, developed by Wideload Games and distributed by Aspyr Media. Instead, it rises again in this 2021, and appears to us exactly like Stubbs: the distant memory of what it was, that we recognize and remember having loved, but that with its 15 years spent underground has aged very badly. The version for Nintendo Switch, the one we tested, could paradoxically be the best on which to replay the brain-eating adventure. Was it good that she came back to life? Let's find out together.
Subbs the Zombie came out on consoles around the same time as Destroy All Humans, and shares with it the same sandbox soul. A world made up of semi-open levels, for an action that sees us, for once, as the enemy. Stubbs is in fact a man-eating zombie, and his only goal, at least initially, will be to wandering around the map chasing every brain that passes by. We will have several melee attacks available, and as we continue in the adventure, our Stubbs will acquire "special powers", such as releasing stink bombs, literally throwing their organs at the poor inhabitants of Punchbowl, up to peel off our heads and throw it like a bowling ball.
Any victim who will become our lunch it will turn itself into a zombie, and we will thus have the opportunity to create a small army that we can lead with us in our search for lost love. Over the course of the twelve levels that make up the campaign, Stubbs will have to face opponents who will arm themselves more and more massively, starting from the defenseless citizens, up to the US army. We will unleash a real zombie apocalypse, which will force us to master the new skills that we will get gradually to be able to get the better of it. The real problem with the title, as it was in 2005, is the repetitiveness. Although the continuous gags between one cutscene and another continue to tear a smile up to the end credits, mechanically perform the same action hundreds of times in scenarios where our goal will not always be clearly explained, it will become after a few hours of repetitive game and at times frustrating. It was probably the standard at the time of its release, but today the gameplay of Stubbs the Zombie begins to feel annoyingly old.
What kind of operation is this second life of Stubbs the Zombie? A simple port, and nothing more; but let's go in order. Speaking of the purely technical side, the game is the same as in 2005, with a graphics that has undergone a cleaning process, and a stable frame rate given the potential of the new consoles. On Nintendo Switch the game does its duty, even if in portability, compared to the dock, the image compression makes it all more pleasing to the eye. In short, from this point of view, much more could be done. Continuing to use Destroy All Humans as a term of comparison, especially its latest incarnation, for Stubbs there has been no modernization work, rather, simply a finishing homework: Seeing the cutscenes go to 4: 3 in 2021 is definitely turning your nose upside down.
On the gameplay side, the title, once again, remains the same as in 2005. The variety that the twelve levels offer has not been expanded in any way, and many of you will start to get bored after a few hours of play: adding some new power to Stubbs between levels is not enough to support the fun animations of death of the inhabitants of Punchbowl, which probably after the XNUMXth time they will no longer offer you any satisfaction. As for the implementation of the Switch features, we are also here at minimum union. In fact, we will be able to navigate the menus through the use of the touch screen, which in any case will serve almost nothing apart from choosing the game settings at the beginning of the game. New mini-games could be introduced to give breath and variety to the experience, but nothing has been done to do so. Also with regard to HD Rumble and motion sensors, the developers have limited themselves to their default functions.
Simply, to those who have never played it. Stubbs the Zombie, alas, it's today an experience that we can associate with retrogaming. Fortunately, the paltry price of the stock is not that of the triple A, and it could be a good opportunity to recover it. As with many other Switch titles, portability is the only sensible reason to give new life to a game aimed at those who did not know it, or who loved it at the time of its release.
Otherwise, we expected much more from Stubbs' return. The graphic cleaning work is undoubtedly there, but it is really ridiculous, nothing has been added to the gameplay, and the features of Switch are exploited only superficially. The mode Split-Screen Multiplayer it could be another valid reason to buy the title: playing the adventure in company gives in fact new gameplay ideas and of organization on how to deal with the levels. Unfortunately, however, the feeling of playing a retro game is very strong; if you have already played it and it is not among your favorite titles, you can safely leave poor Stubbs to rest underground.