When it comes down to it, your gaming experience is often centered around money, so it’s nice to know that every now and then, new and worthwhile games are released for free. Such is the case for Alda Games’ new title, Walking Zombies 2. Released October 11, the game is still fairly new to Steam. Despite this, Walking Zombies 2 has earned itself a decent sum of around 300 reviews: a respectable amount for a game developer out of the Czech Republic.
Sporting a unique low-poly design, Walking Zombies 2 is simplistic in its graphics. Fortunately, this works alongside the cheap price point of $0, as those who can’t necessarily afford more expensive games can’t always afford the equipment needed to fully appreciate more complex modern graphics.
Opening in a clearing, you start off the game from the perspective of Ian, a guard for a zombie-infected woman as she is about to give birth. The scene revolves around this birth, which caught me off-guard right away; you don’t expect a game with cute, low-poly graphics to contain and, more importantly, depict childbirth. After you hold off a wave of zombies, the baby is born, but its life is almost immediately threatened by its mother, who has turned into a zombie. She kills her midwife and the other guard stationed with Ian. In a cutscene, you watch as Ian dispatches the mom before you resume control of Ian again. Hurriedly, Ian picks up the baby and places it into a van. Soon, another wave of zombies arrives, and you mow them down with a conveniently placed minigun in the back of your van.
The game then officially opens up with a cute Borderlands-esque splash card for each essential character in your camp in the woods. Upon awakening, your only option is to talk with the people you saw in the cutscene. You quickly find out that you are the baby you had saved while controlling Ian. It’s not long before you receive your first quest, beginning the loop of gameplay. Although it has fluid and simplistic controls, the gameplay becomes repetitive quickly. Most of the game revolves around picking up missions, going to a small variety of dinky copy-paste locations, retrieving items, killing waves of zombies, retrieving more items, and killing more waves of zombies before reporting back to your home base. Overall, this gameplay loop takes about three to four minutes. However, the game does do its best to shake things up. With elements such as lock-picking and digging for treasure, there is variation here and there. As gameplay progresses, you unlock access to varying forms of weaponry, such as shotguns, rifles, submachine guns, and melee weapons. Overall, Walking Zombies 2 has a surprisingly large quantity of toys to play around with. Paired with a fairly modest profession system, these options manage to break up the otherwise monotonous game loop. With each mission rewarding a fair amount of XP, the level-up system is reasonably paced, alleviating a typical qualm I have with many free-to-play titles.
With most free-to-play titles such as Survarium or Heroes and Generals, it becomes nearly impossible to level up at a reasonable rate without hours of grinding or sinking a couple of dollars into the game. While Walking Zombies 2 does offer some pay-to-win content, I haven’t found myself needing to purchase anything in order to progress through the game. On top of that, there are no special missions or items locked behind paywalls of any sort. The inclusion of a fuel system that requires you to use up a limited supply of fuel to access missions does feel a bit too reminiscent of mobile games. Thankfully though, it is fairly rare to run out of fuel.
Story-wise, the game follows the traditional lines of a zombie game. Walking Zombies 2 revolves around the premise of a zombie-infested world where a secret scientific organization tried to invent a cure. The player has ended up immune through the tests performed on their mom. Standard and straight to the point, the story clearly takes inspiration from games such as The Last of Us and Telltale’s The Walking Dead (rest in peace). However, this doesn’t end up harming the game at all, and simply sets a backdrop for most of the gameplay elements.
Overall, the gameplay itself is surprisingly fun. The best way to describe the game is with a word I’ve repeated multiple times: surprising. Despite barely scraping the surface of this game, it’s easy to tell that it has a much larger story than what I have experienced. The main issues holding this game back from being so much more is its fuel mechanic and repetitive wave-based gameplay. A game that was obviously designed by mobile game developers, Walking Zombies 2 has been able to refine itself into an enjoyable game to play on PC, and is ideal for those who want a simple wave-based shooter that one can play for short increments at a time, without having to feel invested in the story.
Andrew Whittle currently lives in Burlington, Vermont. He is pursing a major in Game Programming. Despite playing mostly FPS games, he finds time for the occasional calmer game such as Stardew Valley or Cities: Skylines