The Walking Dead Assault – Killing Time, On The Go

While I’m spending most of my time preparing to move to University, playing Hearthstone or watching visual media, I have been dabbling with some mobile gaming…
I had to abandon Vault 417 after the game couldn’t load all the activity which was occurring in there… Hell, they had a Nuka Cola factory in their vault…?!
In an attempt to fill that void, I downloaded The Walking Dead Assault.

WDA01 - Title 01

This is an isometric, squad-based game in which you need to clear the level of zombies, while collecting as many supplies as possible; simple, in theory.
The game is split into “Episodes” in a similar fashion to Telltale’s episodic game archetype, but they aren’t nearly as necessary or appealing. Of course, you only get an episode with the game, but more are available in the store; horray for micro transactions… Each episode is broken up into chapters, which represent the levels of the game. Levels can be replayed multiple times, so you don’t necessarily need to buy anymore games, if you like what you already have.

WDA02 - Episodes 01

After selecting your chapter, you get to form your party. At the start of the game, you only have one character available: Rick. As you progress, you find survivors to recruit and you can buy more with the in-game currency.
Each character has a unique skill and a bonus skill which is applied to the entire party. For example, Rick’s special lets him maximise accuracy for a short amount of time, while his party buff is overall accuracy increased.
Part of the strategy is finding a good balance of characters and sharing their buffs to survive consistently.

WDA03 - Party 01

After selecting your party, you then get the chance to spend your supplies for permanent upgrades. The in-game currency is Supplies. These can be collected in every level and bonus supplies are awarded for completing bonus objectives; these take the form of time trials or rescuing extra survivors. They add a little variety, but aren’t overly exciting in the grand scheme of the game.
These supplies can be exchanged for permanent upgrades to Ammo Capacity, Damage Output, Accuracy and Reduce Cooldown Times for special abilities. The cost increases exponentially and gets pretty big [comparatively] towards the end of the dullest form of skill trees.
This is also the opportunity to buy expendable items which, really, didn’t do a whole lot in my opinion. Flares attract zombies and explode, bandages are instant heals and ammo packs refill your parties ammo. Flares are really the only viable choice and they still don’t do a lot; sometimes they don’t even kill the horde of zombies which they attract…

WDA04 - Levelling 01

The Gameplay, itself is pretty generic. It has similarities to squad based games like Commandos or, more recently, Satellite Reign. You double tap your finger where you want your selected character to go, or hold down for a second to move your entire party of characters. It is fine, but moving single characters when you have a whole party gets cumbersome and it becomes easier, as well as more practical, to just move the party as a whole.

WDA06 - Gameplay 02

Your units are blue, Supplies are yellow and the Undead are red.

The same sort of controls go for changing weapons. Each character has a ranged weapon and a melee weapon; the ranged is default and you tap the weapon to change to melee. If you hold down the weapon icon, all characters swap their weapons, from whatever they were holding to whichever is holstered.
This means that if the controls are a little clunky and it registers a single weapon swap before holding, then one of your characters will be shooting while everyone else is in melee, or vice versa. This gets VERY annoying, for reasons which will soon be explained.

Your party move with rings around them; these show the party’s range of attack. As zombies move into them, your party will attack them. This is fine if it worked as a collective range, but each character has their own radius and sometimes your characters will be stood next to their friends, while their friends are fighting for their life… It is really annoying and unintuitive, not to mention how much it breaks the immersion.

WDA09 - Gameplay 05

Here, you can see the ring of death which moves around Rick. All who enter, shall die! Also, some supplies. I hope that blood didn’t fall on them…

The levels are littered with Supplies which are used as the in-game currency. These are perfectly fine, but they do lead you to move through the levels looking for them, rather than focusing on the mission at hand. As mentioned, these can be used to buy upgrades and pointless items for your party, but they are also used to buy new characters with roughly one unlocking each level; it is okay, but I feel it is a little lame having to fight through  city to save someone and then give them my food to actually get them to help me. I mean, it’s not like you LITERALLY OWE ME YOUR LIFE or anything?!

Another feature within the levels are distractions. As you move through the environments, you can create distractions to lure zombies into danger or out of your path. These take the form of green objects which you tap once to prepare and another tap to activate. These objects throw out rings of sound for a short amount of time and attract zombies within their radius.
These items add a little more strategy to the gameplay, but I often found the controls unresponsive and none of the objects feel particularly worthwhile. It seemed easier to take out the zombies one or two at a time, rather than making a small horde and getting overwhelmed.

WDA11 - Gameplay 07

In later levels, the game introduces human enemies. These people have guns and hide behind barriers, but can be attacked by your party or by zombies. They are weaker than zombies but, after being killed, become extra-strong zombies.
It feels a little odd, especially if you kill the humans yourself since they instantaneously become zombies and are right next to your party. I guess this is supposed to be extra challenge, but I found the human aspect really cumbersome…

The big feature of the game is the Horde system. The bar on the left shows the presence of a Horde. As your party make noise, this bar increases. When it maxes out, a Horde of zombies are added to the map, making it harder to complete the level. This adds a slightly more tactical element which encourages you to use melee weapons, but they still make noise and feel tedious. Using the distraction items also counts towards the Horde meter, adding another reason to not use them.

That is basically it for The Walking Dead Assault. The visuals are really nice, but they don’t save it.
I played for a while, took a break and never really wanted to go back to it. The supplies / levelling system is weak and unappealing… The game introduces mechanics that feel restrictive, rather than engaging and they really want you to use their micro-transactions.
Overall, I’d avoid this one. Toast Time is much more fun. =]
Ellen

The images you see before you were all taken by Ellie on her phone. They depict the work created by Skybound and, although they look great, they aren’t the finest piece in Skybound’s catalogue.

Last played on 16/09/15 for Android.

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