Everything that The Walking Dead touches seems to turn to gold. Well, or everthing bitten turns into, y'know, the undead. Skybound and Gamagio's latest iOS title, The Walking Dead: Assault, is a three-dimensional shoot 'em up meets slash 'em up, wrapped up into a tidy-looking XCom from days gone by-esque package.
The Walking Dead: Assault
- iPhone & iPad
The first thing that's striking about The Walking Dead: Assault is just how good it looks. It successfully adapts the comics' graphical style - black and white largely included - and mashes it up into a three-quarter top-down view that looks like a proper game. It's possible to scroll around, pinch in and out and even rotate the world for the best possible angle.
The gameplay premise is wonderfully simple too: "kill all zombies". There is a variety of levels with increasing difficulty and greater numbers of walkers where you'll need to use your selected character - all the classics, such as Shane, Rick, Glenn, et al, are here - to explore the dim-lit streets to track down all your undead foes.
You'll acquire weapons - ranging from quiet hand-held kit such as baseball bats and axes through to pistols and shotguns - to mow down the walkers, but caution as to how much noise you make otherwise you'll attract "the herd", a mass of zombies that pretty much spells game over.
Killing zombies often spills health and ammo power-ups on to the ground, which is integral to nab in order to keep up your chances of survival.
It's the "stealth" element that makes the game challenging. You'll need to use car alarms, set off fire hydrants and so on to keep zombies away from your immediate area, but not to the point where the noise attracts too many zombies.
At first there's just the one character to control, but this quickly progresses into selecting multiple characters for later levels. You'll need to think out whether they roam the streets as a group or individually. Different press and hold combinations on the iPhone screen will move one or all of your chosen characters, which you'll need to become quickly adept at as this is fast-paced, decision-making stuff.
If it all gets a bit much then there are special attacks that can help you out of a sticky spot, but that doesn't necessarily mean the game gets any easier. There'll be the occassional - if not frequent - failures of a level, but returning to the same level with fresh ideas in your head keeps things engaging.
The gameplay format is simple and fairly repetitive at its core, but the frantic nature of controlling multiple characters is what delivers a richer, more skill-based title.
It looks great, it plays great, it's uncomplicated and we already have a lot of unconditional love for The Walking Dead franchise as it stands. The Walking Dead: Assault might be yet another zombie game in an ever-growing list, but it's a class act that's worth every penny. As we allude to in our title-rip from the TV series, you'll be waving goodbye to hours if not days of time playing this little corker.