I saw a game called Dead State by a group calling themselves DoubleBear Productions (enough reason to throw money at them right there. Two Bears). Dead State is a tactical zombie… sim, I’ll call it. I’ll call it that because I’ve always called it that; I mean always in that I’ve been waiting for someone (or dreaming of making this game myself) to make a game exactly like Dead State.
In their Kickstarter video, they do a perfect job of saying what is so stale about the zombie genre in gaming: They’re action-fests using the least interesting form of monster. What could be less imposing than a shambling body that is by definition weaker in all ways than the human it used to be, except for the fact that bullets don’t stop it from shambling? It’s not an aggressive super vampire, a magical Medusa thing, and this game isn’t castlevania. The threat of a zombie apocalypse is that the people that remain are worn down, because the zombies never stop. As DoubleBear states, it’s all about the people.
The goal of Dead State seems to be to fortify a location, avoid detection from zombies, and venture out into the world to collect supplies, all while braving the zombie hordes and fellow survivors (which are not generally friendly). The game’s combat is turn based, and your characters are moved around on a grid. This allows for a more strategic experience, which is really what navigating a zombie invested city should be.
The game has a ton of cool features revolving around fortification and human interaction. You deal with the moral of your team, with manufacturing weapons, and with ensuring the safety of yourself and other survivors. I walked away from their video with only two questions:
- Being that your fellow survivors can die, can you find and recruit new survivors out in the field?
- Are all the people who you shelter functioning combatants? Are there any children, or feeble characters that are completely reliant on your protection without providing active benefit to your team?
Dead State is, by the sound of it, exactly what a true zombie game should be. For that, I give it my full support. My only criticism is that the combat animations look a little… unenthusiastic. There aren’t visceral “bang” to the attacks and no one looks to be moving with much urgency. Shape that up, and this will be an experience worth anyone’s time.
Now that I’ve told you about Dead State, you can throw your money at the screen. Either that, or donate to their Kickstarter fund.