Jane Wilde is the newest title from LevelBit on iOS. It’s a side-scrolling western affair where you, the titular Ms. Wilde – I assume she is unmarried – work as a hired gun to kill a whole bunch of zombies. You are armed with several beefy guns and a devastating cabaret kick, kinda of like Isaac Clarke but not, and you simply have to cross the level. It’s a silly game, the good kind of silly though, and I very much enjoyed it.
Fun, Funny and Fantastic Presentation
So, off the bat, I like the game’s art style. The cartoon depiction is really sharp and colorful. The backgrounds are detailed and the models all fit in snugly. Sure, some of the animations are a bit plastic but that’s just fine actually as the vast majority of the game looks great. The music – namely “In the Hall of the Mountain King” – has the same kind of panache that “Ode to Joy” lent to Peggle. Also, throughout the levels some clever wordplay will pop up simply as flavor text.
Jane herself – all legs and breasts – is humorously depicted as the tough zombie-slaying vixen, gruff and short-spoken. I kinda liked the cheese if I had to be honest. Sure, it’s a classic case of video games making women nothing more than a gun-toting pair of tits, but the brief spurts of dialogue made me think that the devs were in on it too. Again, it’s a rather tongue-in-cheek title and I’d wager Jane is part of it.
See Jane Kill!
The gameplay is straightforward. You walk to the right towards an armory (“Exit through the gunshop,” it says, he he) and kill literally everything in between. You start with crappy guns and get better ones, yadda yadda. You can buy upgrades, ammo and abilities, yadda, yadda.
What Jane Wilde does to separate itself is mix up the pacing and enemies. Sometimes they’ll come in a slow trickle, other times, all of the sudden, there will be a dozen zombies on screen. What this does is make you choose different weapons. Obviously, you don’t want to waste a shotgun shell on a single zombie, so swap to the pistols. If that’s still not enough, try kicking the zombies to stack them up … then boom.
Variety is the Spice of Life
The enemies come in all shapes, too. Regular walkers, ones with coffins as armor, out-of-place centaur zombies (who get rather-gruesomely disemboweled), bats, bugs and bosses. They’re all there and – most importantly – fun to kill. I was always pleasantly surprised at how much fun the game actually was.
Jane too can be dressed up. The costumes are all available for purchase with real money from the store and affect nothing. They’re just great, too. Djane is both hilarious and welcome, being a full-blown race swap. That’s nothing something you see everyday.
The game is also pretty big. There are a bunch of worlds, each level having the go-to three-star completion rating. The money you earn goes toward the shop and it’s all a good time. As you do manage to upgrade your guns, blasting down packs of walkers manages to make you feel bad-ass. And if Jane is one thing, she is a one bad ass.
Growth But Not Change
Jane Wilde is a small game. Small in scope not content, mind you. It actually has a quiiite a few levels to get through and stuff to unlock. But the game remains largely unchanged from beginning to end. Granted, this is a free mobile game, so it’s not that damning. What makes it stick out a bit more than normal is that the formula of walk, kick, shoot, powerup is done well so you’ll want more.
Jane Wilde is an absolute blast. It’s short, funny and well-made, not over-staying its welcome. With some tip-top presentation and rock-solid gameplay, I can’t really find a reason not to pick up the free app. Moreover, if blasting zombies as a well-proportioned Barbie doll with zero context or motive is your thing, I whole-heartedly recommend it.
Jane Wilde Review Platform: iOS – iPhone