Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone

Here's something we haven't seen before: a twin-stick zombie shooter. Oh wait, we have seen that before. Hundreds of times. That's OK, though; games don't need to be original to be worthwhile. It is worthwhile, right? Not so much. Let's take a look...

The general gist of the game is pretty straightforward: four random people have been brought together by various (uninteresting) circumstances right in time for the Zombie Apocalypse. By way of the aforementioned twin-stick shooter mechanics, you need to take control of the survivors and lead them to safety. Which is a shame, because they - to a man - are total douchebags, and the concept of them surviving the end of the world is almost too much to bear.

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Each of the characters - which you'll be pleased to hear fill out the usual roles of a woman, an old man, a smack-talking muppet, and a black guy - have their own weapons and special attacks. The guns, such as the sub machine gun or shotty, are boring and underpowered. Spend time with them and you'll improve their abilities, with additional unlocks made available by way of the collectable currency you'll gather as you mow down the zombies.

Zombies are, well, brainless - something we'll let them get away with here, given the good fit with the source material. They stumble around to start with but will start to perform annoying feats like exploding or taking more hits, etc, as you advance through the game. There are boss zombies, too, which generally have loads of health and some special attacks to spice things up a bit.

A bit, but not much. A lot of the game is mindless repetition, with sometimes hundreds and hundreds of the same boring enemies gradually stumbling onto screen for minutes at end. While these bits are high on boredom and low on challenge, things can get difficult quickly - with bizarre spikes in the game's challenge that occur throughout.

To keep things interesting, if you have no mates around (and there's no one online to play with), you can swap between the characters at will. This is useful, in certain situations, but the inane "banter" between the four badly voice-acted walking cliches is so incredibly repetitive and uninteresting, you'll soon wish they weren't there at all.

The game's structure bizarrely excludes any form of mid-level checkpoint, which means that any failure will be punished by having to drool your way through the entire level again - no matter how far through you were when you fell. This is exacerbated somewhat by the ability to resurrect your comrades, but ultimately it just feels like an oversight or a nod to the game's low budget.

It's definitely more fun in co-op, with smart human players - especially those sharing a couch - working together better than the (otherwise solid) AI players. There's nothing wrong with the computer-controlled friends, who basically follow you around and shoot at things, but there's definitely nothing like playing with real people.

Visually, darkness has been used liberally - presumably to conceal the boring, low-res environmental detail. Unfortunately, this low-visibility extends to the game's enemies, many of whom are largely invisible and who will sneak up on you frequently as a result.

It's no great shakes in the audio department either, with the repetitive weapons fire sounding less like high-powered firearms and more like a constant stream of sloppy poop hitting a fence. The voice acting, while - as previously discussed - inane, is also terribly acted; given the script, that's no great surprise - it's hard to imagine an actor being inspired by it.

Should you buy it? Almost certainly not. It's dull and has been done a thousand times before - and most of those attempts are superior. Even the thirty year old Robotron: 2084 does the twin-stick shooter better than this. That said, if you've got a flat full of lads and are dead-set on blowing away zombies, there's some entertainment to be gleaned here - if you're desperate.

"Boring, bland, and about as fun as a rash."
- Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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Comments Comments (1)

The Host of Chaos
Posted by The Host of Chaos
On Wednesday 4 Jan 2012 6:11 PM
When I started this up and saw Jeremy "teh_pwnerer" was a character I was pleasantly surprised. Once I started playing I was very disappointed. This game sucks. Pure Pwnage it is not.