Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Walking Dead: Road to Survival

I seem to have been bitten by the zombie bug after writing about Overkill’s The Walking Dead, because lately I’ve been playing The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, a mobile game set in the same gritty universe. I’ve actually had the game on my phone for a few weeks, but considering you need internet access to even play the game (which I hate in a mobile game), I was waiting until I had a bit of spare time at home before trying it out. I shouldn’t have waited so long.

Road to Survival bleeds The Walking Dead from its comic book style visuals, to its gripping soundtrack, and even contains a few beloved characters from the series. Just like most mobile RPGs, you build a settlement from the ground up, creating and upgrading buildings, complete story and limited time only missions, and can join factions to work together. And, exactly like most mobile RPGs of this calibre, it is insanely addictive. I haven’t yet reached the point where I have to wait hours for buildings and upgrades to be ready, though, which, if I’m honest, is normally where I get bored.

Until then, I’ve been absolutely loving building my own little settlement in Robert Kirkman’s unforgiving world, and fighting the battles that take place in it, both against the undead and hostile survivors. In that respect, the narrative feels very much like the comic books or the television series; no-one can be trusted. Between fights, which use a similar strength and weakness system to that of Pokemon (e.g. fast characters are effective against tough characters, but weak against strong characters), players get to make choices. Just as you’d expect, these choices make you question the world around you, and the line between survival and humanity.

I made the choice to trust someone, and they sliced a young boy’s throat open in front of me. The next time I have to make a choice, I’ll have to weigh up the options. Do I let the world harden my humanity until I’ll stop at nothing to protect the few people I know I can trust? Or do I try to remain as the person I was before, and take a chance on the morality of survivors I meet? Either way, people could die. That’s on me.

It is these kind of choices, supported by the fitting visuals and soundtrack, which elevate Road to Survival from a simply mobile cash cow, to a game that is very much deserving to be part of The Walking Dead. Though I may not be in it for the long haul, mainly because I don’t always have time to be playing on my phone in a place where I have access to the internet, I have really enjoyed what I’ve played so far.

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, I’d definitely recommend this free iOS and Android game. Step into the undead-filled universe, build a settlement, make tough choices, and see if you can bring down The Governor in your own way.

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