The Walking Dead universe has now entered the world of social gaming, with a new Facebook application that sees players create a character to experience the zombie apocalypse with.
The game begins with a short cinematic of Rick fighting off the undead around the tank, suggesting that this game will follow the TV show storyline as opposed to the one from the comics. The first impression you get is that this is a pretty good looking social game. It’s got a cartoony look that fits well with the universe, and there’s blood.
From there we’re told a few weeks earlier, the player character meets up with Shane after his/her car engine overheats on the way to Atlanta. Joining up with the original camp of survivors that features a few familiar faces – along with some that don’t have proper names, like: “Summer’s Mum” – players have to manage a set of resources, including money, intel, energy and more.
While the missions are the meat and potatoes of the game, where players will be collecting supplies or taking out small groups of the undead, the overall meta game works like most social titles: IE. if you want to keep playing once your energy runs out, you either need to wait several hours for it to recharge, or pay Facebook cash to continue. This always seemed like a poor mechanic to me, as more often then not I find myself not paying and then forgetting the game exists.
Those that persevere however, will see their character fighting off zombies on a grid based system that blends stealth with action, in a reasonably well put together mix of real time and turn based movement and combat. As players progress, they can level up their character in vision, stamina, movement, striking and shooting – while keeping an eye on their fatigue levels.
Of course being a social game, interaction with other players is encouraged. Completing missions together should make the game more enjoyable, but irritating if one of you runs out of energy and can’t complete a mission without spending money. It’s harder to run out of ammo however, since you can just break the immersion by watching a quick advert. It’s understandable why this is done, but it does take you out of the game somewhat.
Still in beta at the moment, with developers planning on continuing to update the game as well as advance the story, it’s likely to improve over time. It’s not a bad interpretation of the Walking Dead at all and the gameplay is good, but it still feels held back by the annoying social free-to-play mechanic that almost forces you to pay in order to play the game properly. It’d be far better if spending real world money gave you perks instead of making it possible to play for longer.
For now, I’d suggest Left 4 Dead 2 if you want action, or if you’re looking for something more narrative driven, try the Walking Dead game from Telltale. It’s a little light on fire-fights, but it has some characters that are a lot more engaging than what you’ll find in this Facebook rendition. However, if social gaming is your thing, you can have a free go on the new application here.