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The Walking Dead: The Game Review
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The Walking Dead: The Game, an interactive point-and-click adventure from Telltale Games based on Robert Kirkman’s work, is now available from the app store. With terrific visuals, impressive voice acting, an engaging story, and choices with long-ranging effects, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more intriguing mobile adventure title than this apocalyptic tale.

The Walking Dead: The Game Pros:

  • Detailed and graphic visuals suck you in to the game, very immersive
  • Atmospheric soundtrack and superb voice acting further enhance the experience
  • Objects to tap are easily identified
  • Decisions have long-ranging effects; storyline is engaging
  • Great replay value; experience altered by performing tasks and answering questions differently

The Walking Dead: The Game Cons:

  • Audio and visual performance issues even on supported 4th-gen iPod Touch
  • Some control quirks (camera and movement handled via same method, swiping causes slow pan)

While most fans are familiar with the graphic novels and television series, our beloved (and reviled) characters don’t make the journey with us this time around. Instead, we follow Lee, a criminal with a murky past whose police transport is derailed by a walker. A vicious wreck knocks Lee unconscious for an unknown period of time, though it’s apparently long enough for his driver to turn into a zombie and present Lee with his first kill-or-be-killed decision. Of course, where there is one zombie, there are sure to be more, forcing Lee to high-tail it until he encounters a seemingly abandoned house. He discovers a gruesome scene, as well as a young girl named Clementine whose parents’ whereabouts are unknown. With his protection instincts in high gear, Lee takes the girl with him as they start their journey in search of safety and answers.

The game alternates between cinematic cut scenes, choose-your-own-adventure-type dialogue decisions, and point-and-click exploration. Though this is a zombie survival tale on the surface, it is a story of human interaction in the face of extreme adversity at heart. Conversations between Lee and other characters typically present several opportunities to select from a few different lines, with silence as an additional option. Often, your responses are timed, giving you only a few moments to decide how you want to respond before defaulting to silence. Less-pressing situations give you time to decide what to say.  One of the coolest aspects of the game centers on the way that your early choices will affect later interactions. You’ll be clued in to which are likely to have long-reaching consequences by a text indicator in the screen corner that tells you when a character learns something about you or that something you said will be remembered by a character. It colors the way you’ll answer questions in the future if you want to remain in the good graces of your fellow survivors. We found the overall story quite engaging and look forward to the next several episodes.

Graphically, the visuals are very nice, creating a realistically frightening world and believable characters brought to life through clean animation and interesting storylines. Dialogue options pop up at the screen bottom in large buttons that are hard to miss, while a timer bar that acts like a candle burning at both ends quickly works its way toward the screen middle from both outer edges. Point-and-click options appear as large white dots. If you have a choice of interaction options (see, talk, use, etc.), these choices appear at the screen bottom and require an additional tap. You can occasionally move Lee around a scene by dragging your finger around the screen in the direction that you’d like him to move. This ability is triggered when the small arrows appear in the screen corner. We found that swiping repeatedly made moving very difficult, though swiping a single time and keeping your finger on-screen would allow Lee to continue moving in a more manageable way. The audio is great, and the voice acting work is definitely one of the highlights of the game.

Replay value is outstanding, as repeated attempts with different dialogue responses can create a much different experience. Replaying the adventure while creating a different personality for Lee can lead to interesting results, too. The fact that this is the first in a series of 5 adventures also makes it worth exploring again when the next episode is released. High-end devices are required and, though playable on the 4th-gen iPod Touch that we used, there was occasional audio choppiness and some visual stuttering, even after clearing the multitask bar and performing a hard reset. A universal app for $4.99, The Walking Dead: The Game is a 4.5-Dimple must-play for fans of the comics or TV series.

The Walking Dead: The Game Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-08-05T16:42:03+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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