Just Browsing - This week in Browser gaming...
Each week here in gaming at The Digital Fix I am going to bring you one recently released online browser based game which I have enjoyed and which is perhaps worthy of praise and one classic from the past, that if you missed the first time around you should check out now. This best thing about this genre of gaming is that instead of taking my word for it, you have the ability to instantly play these games and make up your own minds. Just click on the links found in their titles to point your browser in the right direction.
So without further ado I bring you the first game of the week:
The Last Stand - Union City by conartists
I was watching ‘Dawn of the Dead’ last night (the rather excellent Zack Snyder modern remake) and this reminded me of this recently released gem. Obviously being a flash based game it doesn’t quite have the power to recreate a full scale zombie apocalypse in the way, say, Left 4 Dead manages, but surprisingly it still manages to conjure up some of the elements of fear and desperation that come with the undead territory.
In terms of gameplay, it blends 2d hack/slash action with RPG styling and statistics and then throws in a hundreds of zombie into the mix. To begin with you build a character in a similar vein to Fallout from which it ‘borrows’ a number of other ideas, adding points to your vital statistics which affect how you will play the game. Once you have your character ready, the game throws you straight into the action when your car crashes and you find yourself facing a few mysteriously pale looking humans who seem to be wanting to get a little too close to you.
Playing through the game you pick up lots of fun weapons and items to dispatch your foes, and killing gives you XP which you spend on levelling up your abilities which in turn allows you to not only kill, but also pick locks, barter and search the area a little better. As with the previously mentioned Fallout, the game tries to draw you in with a sense of reality (if you play the recommended, but tougher, survivor mode) by making you eat and sleep. Failure to do so will hamper your statistics which could result in the zombies over powering you.
What really puts this game ahead of many other browser based games is the level of detail and attention that has been put into it. You can tell that the developers have spent many hours slaving away creating thousands of zombie graphics and animations, beautifully drawn backgrounds that show the dilapidated state of society and hundreds of weapons and items to pick up and splat into a zombie’s skull. At times this game can be a real thriller of a ride.
Unfortunately at other times you might find some bugs that can ruin a game. I managed to lose my entire inventory once, which meant I was stuck with my fists to fight off the hordes. Also recently the movement keys seem to have broken on Google Chrome, so watch out for this. The gameplay can also, admittedly, become a bit repetitive at times as endless horde after horde of zombie maniacs charge at your chainsaw, all meeting the same mulching death. Still if you have few hours to spare and you like the idea of mixing RPG levelling up with mutilating some zombies (until the eagerly awaited Dead Island is released) then this is certainly worth a click.
Vision by Neutral
Room escape games are a rather odd genre. Essentially they entail the combination of puzzles and item finding with the final goal of escaping the room you have (almost always without reason) been trapped in. To the uninitiated they might seem rather mysterious and bizarre in nature but, once you’ve got your head around what you are supposed to do, and you enjoy puzzles, you might find them to be the best thing you’ve discovered online.
Neutral, a Japanese developer (like a large proportion of the genre’s), in my opinion makes the best room escape games. The aesthetics in all of her rooms are stunning, containing rendered 3D models that are so beautiful you can enjoy them for their own sake without even considering the devious puzzles contained within.
Vision is (in both mine and the developer’s) opinion, her toughest. But still with some clever thinking and solid logic you should eventually be able to escape. I’m not going to say too much more, other than - give this a try. If it turns out to be your ‘thing’ then you’re hopefully going to be glad you read this and you can go off and explore the hundreds of other similar games out there. It you find it’s just too frustrating or confusing or just down right silly, then I’ll forgive you, I guess there are always more zombies to kill…