Friday, January 4, 2013

Michelin Game - Aftermath

With the recent popularity of The Walking Dead series in comics and TV, and the success of the recent video game of the same name, zombie games are currently the rage on the app store.

There have so many releases of zombie games and shooters that it is almost hard to pick out one that truly stands out. Thankfully, TwoHeads Games actually managed to produce one such standout.

TwoHeads is actually one-man developer Peter Pashley doing almost all the work, from game design to coding to graphics, and it is incredible.

Aftermath actually came out in March 2010, and it is almost coming to be a 3 year old iOS game. In fact, I only discovered this game at the tail end 2012, and what a delightful gem this is.

The game does not feel aged or outdated, and part of the reason is Peter has been constantly updating the game with retina graphics and universal builds for iPads and iPhones alike.

Zombie Shooter

The game itself is a twin stick shooter, but with a twist. Whilst the left stick is used for movement, the right stick is merely used for aiming the direction of the character and the weapon. Once a zombie is locked on, the firing of the weapon is fully automatic.

Set across 11 levels, the game revolves entirely around one night separated by different stages and different times in the night. Each stage requires you to travel a section of the sprawling city before you can unlock the next level.

Various Stages

Each stage has its own individual high score and is fully synced with Game Center. There is also a separate survival stage where you can roam around the city killing everything in sight until you are mauled down by the walking dead.

You have a health bar which will deplete every time a zombie manages to get his/her hands on you. Along the various stages, you will also get to pick up various other weapons. You start out with a simple handgun, but very quickly you will get access to grenades, short guns, Uzis etc.

Atmospheric Lighting

The graphics themselves are rendered in straightforward 3D polygons with only simple bitmaps. Yet, it is very atmospheric, thanks largely to the incredible lighting in the game. The weapon has a torchlight attached to it, and for the most part, you will be moving in near darkness, though you do have the option to increasing the lighting in the options menu.

As you move around in the dark set city, there will be lightning flashes which will briefly illuminate the surrounding to reveal zombies in hiding, and this gives a lot of dramatic effect to the surroundings. It is actually quite tense and even terrifying when you suddenly have a horde of zombies coming from behind.

The sound effects are sparse but are very effective indeed. Games like this do not require thumping soundtracks, but rather on an aural mood to create a sense of suspense and tension. The music is also eerie and atmospheric as well. Armed with a simple but effective piano track, this game might just be the perfect companion to The Walking Dead series.

Tense And Exciting

The zombies themselves have a few variants, but for the large part, the difficulty is trying to pick a way through to your destination and turning and running with great precision to avoid harm's way. The gameplay, while simple, can be quite exhilarating at times. And that is about it, a simple but exciting zombie shooter that is heads above all other zombie shooters out there.

Aftermath shows again the creative invention of a one man developer team, and Peter Pashley should be congratulated for producing such a high quality shooter that is on par with the major developers out there. The game length is not that long, but it is ultimately very satisfying when you get to the end, and it can also be quite challenging as you go through the various levels.

It may not be the most fully fleshed shooter for the iOS platform, but it simply one of the best and most invigorating one to date. Zombie shooting has never been more terrifying on the iPad or iPhone.

Aftermath (US$2.99) - Click here to download.

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