Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse (Nintendo Switch) The test

Surprise announcement during the last Nintendo Direct, the remaster of Stubbs the Zombie did not seem at first glance necessarily visually appealing… So was it necessary to bring this zombie back to life? We tell you everything!

Welcome to Punchbowl, the city of tomorrow!

Let’s start with a little history … Stubbs the Zombie is a game apart, released in 2005 at the very end of the Xbox’s life (of which it was excluded, even if it was also ported to PC & MAC), the game has benefited from a special aura, in part thanks to the good feedback from the players of the first (and last) hour! Stubbs the zombie is the first title of the studios Wieload Games, which at the time was founded by Alexander Seropian (co-founder of Bungie – you know Halo) and other alumni from the same studio, following the acquisition of Bungie by Microsoft. The game will then benefit from a re-release on Xbox Live in 2008 allowing Xbox 360 players to rub shoulders with it before it was withdrawn for technical problems. Meanwhile, the studio Wideload was bought by Disney (joining the branch Disney interactive) before being definitively closed in 2014… Suffice to say that the fate of Stubbs seemed sealed and did not allow a return to be considered. But remember, this is a zombie this is and is the kind of character not to get buried like that! So here we are in 2021 and the original publisher of the title Aspyr Media decides to bring the zombie back to life… End of history lesson! Let’s move on to the history of the game …

Stubbs the Zombie therefore places you in the skin of Stubbs, a zombie by trade, who rose from the ground in 1959 to satisfy his thirst for brain (and revenge?) In the modern and somewhat uchronic city of Punchbowl, Pennsylvania. Indeed, this one under the impulse of the billionaire industrialist, Andrew Monday, benefits from state-of-the-art technology, including robots, laser guns and other flying cars… all in a period atmosphere! Stubbs will therefore have to make his way through the city to sow chaos and especially to fill his belly (with holes) of brain!

Halo on Punchbowl

As we said in the introduction, the game was developed by alumni from Bungie, it is felt in the gameplay and the game environments, which in itself is rather positive. Our Zombie therefore evolves in semi-open areas, in search of brains to eat. Obviously, the city is inhabited and you will soon be enjoying a free buffet! Which buffet will subsequently become your “table” companions. Indeed, all the characters killed by Stubbs will come back to life in zombie form, ready to peck some brains with him! To transform them, it will be enough to strike them via melee attacks or directly bite their brains when they are weakened. It will be the same for humans killed by Zombies spawned by Sutbbs who will then join your “Horde”. This is also one of the first special Stubbs abilities, that of being able to whistle a horde of zombies (maximum 6) so that they follow you. Over the course of the adventure, Stubbs will gain additional abilities, such as unleashing an enormous gasoline whose smell worthy of an extra-strong chili sauce with extra onion scent rotten will have the effect of stunning the surrounding opponents and thus power their cut off a piece of brain more easily. Subsequently, he will be able to launch his guts, the gases of which will cause an explosion which will allow you to clean certain areas. Stubbs will also be able to throw his hand to control it from a distance (much like the Thing in the Adams family), except that this hand will allow you to take control of certain enemies. Once the human is under your control, you will be able to benefit from the weapons at his disposal to eradicate other humans and shoot a gun that is sometimes welcome in the assaults of your horde, then giving the game the appearance of TPS. Finally, Stubbs will be able to use his head as an explosive bowling ball that you can control so that the blast causes maximum damage in the enemy ranks. The vital energy of our “hero” goes up automatically if we stay quiet in a corner, on the other hand for the gauge of the various special abilities, it will be necessary to bite the cerebellum …

Our zombie in his condition therefore benefits from a fairly varied range of actions. Note that the use of each of them is accompanied by a very funny “cartoon” animation (Stubbs puts his hand on his neck to bring out a new head after the blow of “boom” ling). Note also his zombie gait (drunk way), but which looks perfectly good, luckily Stubbs is also quite swift (for a zombie) and at no time does one have the impression of “dragging yourself”. We talked about the TPS-style phases, there are also some vehicle phases. It takes over the controls of Halo, but can sometimes be a bit complex to maneuver! The left stick allows you to move forward or backward, while the right allows you to turn… but also turns the camera! The first few minutes in the tractor may make your head spin a little … but you get used to it (and the phases in the vehicle are not essential to advance in the game). Despite the semi-open aspect, we can understand the levels with a certain “freedom”. You can either go for it and try to devour the humans (sometimes tricky tactic, because they are numerous and armed), or let your horde do the housework or distract attention, while you take the resistant humans. on the back… This gives a small “tactical” dimension that allows the games to be renewed. We will also note clashes against bosses, which sometimes turn out to be a little more complicated and for which you will have to use a little of your zombie flesh to weaken them, while also being quick in your actions to reduce their life to nothing! Some will be original, in the form of a dance game although a little difficult to chain at the level of the buttons (luckily it is possible to pass this fight if you struggle a little too much … to believe that the developers were aware of the difficulty of this phase). But in general, our brave Zombie responds well!


Your progress will be punctuated by a few cutscenes (for once, the screen switches to 4/3 with an old film effect) in order to advance “the story” … but as a general rule these are completely shifted scenes, playing on the codes of genre films, some dialogues are also quite tasty and contribute to the overall good humor that emerges from the title (between 2 sprays of blood). The overall atmosphere is also reminiscent of “Destroy All Humans! “ which put you in the shoes of an alien at the same time. Stubbs will visit quite varied areas, ranging from the futuristic trendy city center to a more rural setting, including a purification center, a police station, a scientific laboratory or also a city under siege. In short, from this point of view, it is rather positive. On the other hand, visually, we feel that the game has undergone the weight of the years. Even if the remaster work done by the teams of Aspyr is rather clean in terms of textures (passed in HD), we regret that it stopped there… The game is “clean”, no aliasing or fog effect… On the other hand, certain decorations sometimes seem a little empty… Even if there are zombies and humans nearby! The game remains super smooth, regardless of the number of characters displayed and the action on the screen. (Still happy you will tell us, but hey, it is important to clarify). We also noticed a kind of pale green filter throughout the game phases (which is not present during the cutscenes), it is a bit disturbing at the beginning, but we got used to it, probably it is to add a certain atmosphere to the title? Too bad it is not possible to deactivate it.

For the rest, it is a copy / paste of the original game whether in terms of the soundtrack (sometimes out of step with the action), but very well made. Note also the sound effects, you will hear cries and “not my brain!” ”Or“ braiiiiin ”Tarman style! (movie character Return of the Living Dead which we recommend for a movie / pizza night). On the other hand, do not expect any additional content and it’s a bit of a shame… Be reassured, however, nothing has been removed. It’s still so trashy, the hemoglobin flows in a disproportionate way and the game benefits from quality French subtitles! The game also retains its 2 player mode locally only, but which we did not have the opportunity to test with a zombified friend.

Back to top button