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The Walking Dead: Assault Review
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The Walking Dead: Assault, a top-down squad-style zombie shooter based on Robert Kirkman’s hit comic series, has been released by Skybound and Gamagio and is now available from the app store. Mirroring the style of the graphic novels and utilizing the actual characters in a fun way, The Walking Dead: Assault is a competent, fun addition to the genre and an obvious purchase for fans of the series.

The Walking Dead: Assault Pros:

  • Outstanding graphic style that mirrors the comics, with color splashes to indicate walkers, survivors, decoys, and supplies
  • Controls use taps and holds to interact with the environment and lead the group
  • Group characteristics are upgradeable; special perks offer temporary help that extends to the group
  • GameCenter offers leaderboards and achievements
  • This is only Episode 1, with at least 2 more episodes to come

The Walking Dead: Assault Cons:

  • Soundtrack could be used a little more effectively
  • Controls can be a little troublesome in the heat of battle, as moving the whole group requires a hold with a couple second delay

The storyline adheres closely to the first several editions of the comic, as Rick awakes in the hospital to find that it has been overrun by zombies and everybody has either been turned or run off. His goal in the first level is to collect supplies from the surrounding area and clear all zombies from the premises. He can swap between a gun for ranged attacks and an axe for melees. The gun’s ammo is limited and the noise draws the attention of nearby walkers, but the axe requires close proximity and multiple hits, which can cause your health to take a hit from aggressive biters. You’ll also need to determine whether a slow, methodical pace or a breakneck romp is your best course of action. These are the types of choices you’ll need to make throughout. Our survivors will automatically attack any walker that gets within range, as dictated by your choice of weaponry. Clever use of environmental objects can turn car alarms and fire hydrants into decoys to draw the dead’s attention, giving Rick and pals some breathing room when things get hairy. Each survivor even has a special rechargeable perk whose purpose is related to his personality. For instance, Rick gains a laser-like focus that allows him to pull off headshots with ease, while Shane’s reckless temper affords him double damage. The value of these perks extends to the group as a whole, giving all members a boost in one attribute or another.

As you progress in the game, you’ll unlock additional characters to use, though you can only take 4 into any given situation. This forces you to make strategic decisions about who to take and why. Moving and controlling multiple characters can get a bit dicey, especially in the heat of a walker battle, but a little practice should have you marching them around like a pro in no time. Tapping a character or a character’s portrait in the upper right corner allows you to select just that character, and double-tapping anywhere on screen will move just that character to the selected spot. Moving the group at once requires you to hold your finger on a desired location, with all trekking as a unit after a short delay. Similarly, swapping weapons sees you tapping the weapon box to change only the selected character’s weapon, or long-pressing the same box to have everyone swap at once. When you have a full complement of characters to control, it’s wise to have some using ranged attacks while others use melee. You can position them in specific formations and have them intelligently wend their way around the environments to dispatch walkers in an orderly way. Supplies can be traded for upgrades like increased health, greater damage, and more, which will become crucial as you encounter more challenging missions and enemies.

The graphics retain the look and feel of the comics, with much of the gaming area appearing as black-and-white. Blood red splatters appear as you hack zombies to death or blast their heads with your guns, while faint green glowing objects indicate an item’s possible use as a decoy. Collectible supplies are enveloped in a yellow glow. Character names and health bars appear above their heads, and their portraits in the upper right corner fill with red color as they take damage. Special perks are easily activated by tapping on the appropriate icons on the screen’s right side. Information regarding remaining zombies in a level, elapsed time, and collected supplies are presented in the upper left corner. Panning, zooming, and rotating the playing area are accomplished via the standard control methods or dragging, pinching, and twisting your fingers, giving you a clear view of anything that may appear to be hidden. The soundtrack is a bit sparse, though the sound effects that are present give off an air of creepiness.

Replay value is quite good, as your missions are timed and compared to those of your GameCenter friends. This offers an interesting challenge as you can compete to see who can complete a level in less time than the other. Additionally, the rewards screen indicates a bunch of missions, objectives, and achievements to strive for while playing. Multiple difficulty settings and GameCenter leaderboards also add to the replay value. A universal app for $2.99, The Walking Dead: Assault is a terrific 4.5-Dimple offering.

The Walking Dead: Assault Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-12-08T14:19:16+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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