So zombies, right? They’re pretty much awesome, and games that have them featured usually score quite a few points in their favour simply because of this fact. Make a zombie the protagonist of one of these and things just start looking up from there.
For those of you not in the know (or missed the boat with the first Sonny), where have you been? Go here now. It’s okay, I’ll wait. You done yet? You didn’t play it? What? It was too much effort? Tch. Your loss. Fine. For the lame and the lazy, here’s what you need to know:
Sonny is a zombie. Not of the “BRAAAAAAINS” variety either; in fact, er, he’s pretty human despite the green skin and glowing eyes – and let’s face it, that’s two-thirds of the zombie characteristics, so it’s legit. Inexplicably, he wakes up on a ship with no recollection of who he is, what he’s doing and why he’s there. A blind dude named Louis is there to help him however, that is, until Louis is mowed down by mysterious armed forces (It’s not a spoiler if it happens in the prologue, right?). He didn’t see it coming. In his last breath, he hands Sonny a tape which is, you guessed it, “of vital importance” – thus sending Sonny on his way.
Sonny 2 picks up from where Sonny abruptly (and rather nonchalantly) left off, with Sonny and his partner in grime, Veradux (another dead but still human zombie), being attacked by a zombie-chick who, dun dun dunnnn, steals the tape. Okay, so the story so far isn’t exactly trying to bowl us over with originality, but come on: zombies! That’s just awesome. Without giving too much away (as I usually do) I can at least confirm that the story and characters do develop, and that this time around the game thankfully ends a story arc with an effective climax preparing for the next installment.
Now, apparently I was supposed to review Sonny 1 a while back but never did because of a possible mental breakdown; so for your convenience I’ll give a quick review of the gameplay elements because they remain pretty much the same in Sonny 2. The game is a tactical turn-based RPG, that means the your team stands opposite the enemies and everyone takes turns hitting numbers out of each other using swords, guns and magic. At the end of each battle you get experience points, and upon leveling up, you get to improve your stats and unlock new skills and upgrade them. You sometimes also pick up some armour and other apparel from the wastes of war which (in tried and true RPG fashion) raise your stats considerably.
The real stars of the gameplay are the skills though. Sonny 2 allows you to choose from 3 basic Zombie classes. Despite what the game names them, these are your basic ‘warrior’, ‘ranged’ and ‘magic’ classes – and unlike its predecessor, each class comes with its own unique skills board – so you can play the game differently each time…or maybe not.
The staple of RPGs (or at least the kind that Sonny 2 tries to emulate) is an elaborate game of rock-paper-scissors on the basis of stats. Warriors are strength-based that are effective against magic-users; magic users are at an advantage against ranged fighters; and the ranged fighters are naturally great at pulverizing the warrior types. In Sonny, however, everything is pretty much great at everything – you’re merely choosing which stat you prefer, but in the end, you’re doing the same amount of damage.
Luckily, it’s the tactics involved that make the battles fun. Although it sometimes takes trial and error to find the right strategy to use, with a myriad of skills at your disposal, it’s an absolute blast using your whole team to destroy the enemy. Again, Sonny 2 can fall into the trap of redundancy here – I found a working combo of moves that I used throughout the game to great effect, making my other moves a bit pointless – but, because everything is so varied, you actually WANT to try them all. I can’t help but think that implementing a rock-paper-scissors dynamic to the title would give battles added depth, making it essential to use all your skills. Just a thought.
In terms of graphics, it’s pretty much the “same but better” rule put into practice (hey, if it’s not broken don’t fix it) with the same one-screen-per-area acting as the link to story battles, practice battles and the store. It was great in the first one, and continues to keep things interesting in the number 2. The characters are well animated, and the effects are super. What really surprised me (with both titles) is the brilliant sound and voice acting. It’s evident that a lot of effort went into making this an amazing game, and the sound division really needs to be commended for doing a bang-up job; seriously, I’ve seen boxed titles with worse.
Overall, you really, really can’t say anything bad about Sonny or Sonny 2. It’s free, it’s made in flash and on top of it all, it’s made brilliantly. It’s fun to play, has replay value and is challenging. You’ll be amazed at the quality, and over and above anything else: zombies. Seriously.