Even if you’re suffering from zombie fatigue like us, The Walking Dead – an adventure game based on the popular comics/TV show – is a must-play for fans of the macabre who own an iPad. Unfurling more like an interactive drama than a game, you play as maybe-murderer Lee who is narrowly spared jail thanks to the arrival of a zombie apocalypse. Lee swiftly teams up with a number of other survivors, including a feisty young girl called Clementine, and the aim of the game is to work together to stay alive.
Unlike most games filled with brain-munching undead monsters, The Walking Dead doesn’t have you battling through hordes of zombies with a mini gun. Instead we get a tense human drama, filled with lengthy bouts of dialogue between the almost-broken refugees. Not every problem is solved with a gun either: instead you’ll be tracking down food to keep your new family from starving, or working out how to break into a pharmacy to loot some medicine.
A large part of the game involves making moral choices, and occasionally you’ll have to make a snap decision on how to react to another character, which is supposed to change their feelings towards you – although we wonder just how much the game is altered by your choices. After playing through a couple of times, the end result always seems to be the same. Occasionally the storytelling falters, and the second episode in particular features an obviously signposted ‘twist’ that results in unintentional hilarity, but for the most part the drama is tough and emotional.
That’s not to say there aren’t any action scenes, however, and the frantic quicktime segments – where you have to furiously tap the screen to survive an encounter – are all the more devastating thanks to their sparseness. Failure results in you only having to repeat the sequence, but other auto-save points are few and far between, so you can’t simply pick up and play for five minutes on your tube journey. Besides, The Walking Dead is best enjoyed alone in a darkened room...
Planned as a series of five episodes, so far only the first three are available on iOS (£2.99 each), and we’re hoping that TellTale will release the fourth (already available to PC gamers) on our iDevices soon.