One of the best – and refreshingly different — PC and console games in a long while is now available on Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. But keep the kiddies away.
Based on Robert Kirkman’s best-selling comic and television franchise, The Walking Dead – the video game — debuted on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Windows PC a couple of months back.
The first episode of the 5-part game – which was developed and published by Telltale Games – garnered an average score of 86 percent, according to GameRankings.com. And for good reason: along with a compelling and chilling story and memorable characters , the gameplay not only fuses multiple genres but your decisions truly affect the way the game plays out.
Good news for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch gamers: The Walking Dead – Episode 1 – A New Day is now available for $4.99, plus you can pre-purchase the rest of the series as a Multi-Pack (episodes 2 through 5) for $14.99.
And it’s worth every penny.
A New Day introduces Lee Everett, a man convicted of a serious crime. While in the back of the cruiser, you start to notice strange things happening outside your window in Georgia, such as speeding police cars with sirens wailing. Before you know it, the cruiser slams into someone (er, or something) and rolls into a ditch. After you find a way out of the vehicle you realize what’s happening around you might be a fate far worse than prison. As Everett, you’re left to fend for yourself in a world ravaged by the undead.
Without giving too much away, Everett might also find some redemption in protecting an orphaned 6 year-old girl. Note: You don’t need to know anything about The Walking Dead comics or TV adaptation in order to enjoy this interactive tale.
Gameplay in A New Day is a combination of exploration, puzzle solving, action sequences and plenty of dialogue. But be aware this isn’t a zombie shooter like Left 4 Dead or Dead Island – it’s an adventure game with a few quick-action moments. While interacting with characters, you’ll have a few seconds to select a specific response from a list of options. By choosing an answer (or question), and your desired tone, the information or action it triggers will vary.
For example, if you’re kind to someone they might just help you later on, or if you decide to flee a scene at night versus the day, something new might be lurking around the corner. Plus, you’ll occasionally be forced to make a very tough decision, such as being able to only help one person from flesh-eating zombies – even though two need your help at the same time.
Part of the appeal of this relatively short episode – which should take you about 3 hours to complete at most – is you can replay the game and try different conversation trees to see how it’ll play out.
Despite the fantastical premise, there are plenty of emotional moments, and you’ll not doubt grow attached to the characters. But yes, it’s a horror game, too – therefore you can also expect a few jump-out-of-your-seat moments, along with plenty of bloody and gory scenes not for the faint of heart.
In the iPad version played for this review, the intuitive controls requires tapping and swiping, compared to the PC version that’s mouse-driven (and employing the WASD buttons for character movement).
Visually speaking, the “cel-shaded” game employs a charming art style that looks like it’s a black-and-white movie that’s been colourized. The artwork was inspired by the original comic books, says Telltale Games. It would also be remiss not to mention the excellent voice acting, sound effects and music that all help contribute to the chilling atmosphere.
Aside from a few small issues – audio that doesn’t always match the character’s lips (which breaks the immersion) – A New Day for iOS is an inexpensive, attractive and very rewarding interactive adventure.
If this first engrossing episode is any indication, The Walking Dead series, with a new episode released each month, will be one of the “must play” games of the year.
Here’s a trailer to the game, but take heed to the “Mature” warning: