Developer: Gamagio, Skybound Entertainment
Release Date: November 27th, 2012
Available on: Mobile
While Telltale’s Walking Dead games have you going through a difficult emotional journey, Gamagio and Walking Dead creators Skybound decided to team up and give something a little different to the Mobile space. The Walking Dead: Assault is a top down tactical game that manages to be surprisingly fun distraction for those with a mobile device, if suffering from being a little light on content.
The Walking Dead: Assault sort of vaguely follows the comics and covers the events from Rick waking up at the hospital to the group finding the prison. That said, the game is extremely story light and doesn’t make any real effort to follow the events with any kind of accuracy. Don’t be surprised when Dale is escaping the hospital with Rick, or Shane is still around when they get to the prison. It’s a bit of a shame that they didn’t stick closer to The Walking Dead’s excellent plot, but it would probably hamper the game in the long run.
The Walking Dead: Assault comes with 8 missions, each of which takes about 10 – 15 minutes to clear. Each mission tasks you to simply kill all the zombies on the map so you can move on. Before you start a level you can pick which four characters you want to take with you. Each character has two weapons, a passive ability, and an active ability and the best thing is to make sure you’re combining them effectively. I couldn’t help but chuckle a little at the choice of characters available. For some reason you can put Sophia, Carol, or Lori into your group despite none of them having any kind of combat role in the comics, well… ever. Also Sophia is like 8. On the other hand more combat ready characters like Herschel, Billy, Otis, Patricia, and Tyreese are oddly absent.
Controls are really simple: you can tap once to move the selected character where you want, or hold to move all four at once. Characters can activate their abilities or switch weapons with the press of a button, and will automatically attack any zombies that come into their attack range. You always need to be careful with guns for a few reasons. Besides requiring ammo they are also noisy. You’ll not only have a chance to alert nearby walkers, but even worse you’ll slowly fill up the herd bar. The herd bar increases every time you use a gun and if it fills up you’ll summon the herd and promptly drown in zombies, but it will decrease as long as you keep quiet. It’s an interesting mechanic, but it ends up turning into “kill some zombies, then sit still until the herd bar empties, repeat” which just makes missions drag longer than they need to. There’s also some environmental objects that you can interact by tapping on them, like setting off car alarms, that attract and distract zombies.
Besides zombie killing you’ll want to go around and collect supplies for use after missions. Supplies can be used to either upgrade your stats so your characters will do things better, or be used to buy new characters. You’ll get a new character for purchase at the end of each level, so you’ll at least get a constant supply of them. On the other hand, the last few characters ultimately feel useless because you’ll have the game beat before you unlock them. Since there’s nothing to do besides the story, if you don’t want to replay the levels then there’s nothing else to do with them. Easily the most annoying part of the game comes from the notice that there’s more levels on the way. That notices has been up since the game launched and there’s still no sign of extra levels, so don’t get your hopes up.
The Walking Dead: Assault has a decent two hour run time. Yet once those two hours are up then there’s not really much of anything left to the game. The herd mechanic falls flat, but the rest of the game plays smoothly and is interesting. If you want an idea of what it could have been, The Walking Dead: Assault is decent if you can grab it cheap. Hopefully someone comes around and makes something better with similar mechanics.