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Game Review: Range of the Dead

range of the dead flash gameA follow up to the well-received Lab of the Dead, this Flash based game by Sick Death Fiend follows the hero / scientist from Lab after he decides he must leave the lab. Before he goes off on his survival adventure, he decides he should learn to shoot, so he stops on a ridge overlooking a flat desert area, plops down with a rifle, bow, and some grenades, and starts learning how guns work.

This is a mobile game at heart, so the mechanics are simple. They’re also a bit ridiculous.

The first few levels make decent sense; you are trying to shoot zombies 100m or so away, with 0 wind resistance. Just get your aim right and you can score a headshot. Then you have to start allowing for wind – 3kmph or so, which again, makes perfect sense. Bullets have a lot of momentum and force, but they are after all just tiny bits of metal flying through the air, and wind can affect them. Not much, but some. Where it starts to get silly is when, after a dozen or so levels, you have to adjust for wind around 60-80kmph, at which point you wouldn’t have to worry about bullet trajectory so much, since the zombies would most likely be blown over.

This extreme wind resistance means that to hit some of the zombies (all of which are in the center of your screen), you’ve got to fire the gun off to the left or right side of the screen . I’m no marksman, so I don’t know for sure how real shooting works, but it seems absurd that, in high wind, a sniper must turn to his left to shoot a guy in front of him, letting the wind curve the bullet for him.

Of course, in this game, you can – for some reason – influence the trajectory of the bullets. Once the bullet is fired, the WASD keys will move the bullet to the left, right, up or down. It’s not exactly full control, but even influencing its path a little seems like more than you’d get in reality. Since you get, you know, none.

range of the dead flash game

What new adventures await in this level?

Despite the silly mechanics, the real downfall of this game is its monotonous nature. You can switch to the bow from the rifle for a little variety, and every now and then they throw in a grenade level which is admittedly a bit more fun than the rifle ones. But 100 levels of doing the exact same thing with some slight variation on where you point the cursor? I read people saying they couldn’t get past level 50 or 60 due to difficulty, but I couldn’t pass 20 due to boredom.

he final bit of silly really strikes me because of my geographical location. The main character is heading toward Senoia to gather supplies because its the “nearest town.” Now, there may be other towns named Senoia in this world, though a Google search just brings up a bunch about the one that’s 10 minutes from my house: Senoia, GA. This was likely chosen because a lot of the filming of the Walking Dead took place in Senoia over the past few seasons. But being a local, I know that Senoia is actually little more than a four-way stop between several larger cities. One way lies Fayetteville/Peachtree City, both sizeable towns, another lies Newnan which is a bit larger, and the other lies proper Senoia, a hole in the wall with a few rundown shops. Now if you go out through the woods or take some backroads, you can hit Brooks, which is farm country around here, and if you were outside Brooks but closer to Senoia, then Senoia might conceivably be called “the closest town.” But there’s nothing there. So the idea that anyone would be heading toward Senoia is completely silly. But even the most meager knowledge of geography should inform you that there’s no desert in Georgia!

Anyway.

If you like skill games and don’t require much variety or excitement, this might be a good game for you. I recognize with some games like this one that it might be good for someone else, just not me. But when even the skill aspects seem to operate on faulty physics, I’m not sure how you could find any enjoyment in it.

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Rebuild Games by Sarah Northway

rebuild zombie flash gameA couple years ago I found a game on Newgrounds called Rebuild. I played it and absolutely loved it. I was thrilled to discover soon after that there was a Rebuild 2 also available. Then I heard the developer was planning a 3rd game called Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville. I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for this game, at a level that got me Alpha access because I couldn’t wait to see what was coming.

The basic premise behind the game series is that you are the leader of a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse. You start with a small section of your town that has been walled off to defend against zombie incursions. The objective is to explore the unclaimed sections of the town, finding new survivors to join your group, food, fuel, ammo, and building supplies for your base, and clearing them of zombies to make them safe to reclaim. You win the game when you’ve reclaimed the entire town.

The zombies outside the walls regularly group up and launch attacks, and you direct your “guard” survivors to protect the wall in that area. Survivors are sometimes bitten, other groups of survivors will show up with trade requests, and various other random encounters will throw challenges in  your direction.

It’s a strategy game; the first two are turn based, and the third is as well but with a real-time mode. The third game also adds some new elements, chief among them being the titular gangs. These gangs are something like “factions” in other games, and represent a new challenge and new decisions to make.

This game is great for the nerds like myself who don’t just want to fight zombies, but wonder about the details of the post-apocalypse. Like…could we ever have electrical infrastructure again? I mean, I don’t know how to run a power plant. Do you? Would we have to find someone who does? What if they’ve all been eaten?

In Rebuild, we get to deal with some of those details. Establishing some order, reclaiming power plants and water treatment facilities. It’s all handled in very basic ways; assign someone with a good science skill to work in a lab, which helps develop new technologies for the settlement. But it does at least address something other than the best ways to stop a zombie with a shotgun.

I have had the pleasure of e-mailing a couple of times with the game’s creator Sarah Northway. She’s super friendly, and very accessible to her fans and supporters. She told me that the lack of thinking-man’s zombie games like this were her main inspiration for creating Rebuild.

I made Rebuild because I felt exactly the same way, it’s hard for me to find a game that’s just right, so I had to create my own!

Go check out the Rebuild flash games. There’s a mobile version too if that’s your preferred platform.

Zombie Trailer Park

Zombie Trailer Park is one of the most fun Flash games I’ve played in a while, and certainly one of the best zombie ones. It’s a defense game, and a pretty challenging one that should take you a little time to get through. A great way to spend a spare hour!

Zombie Trailer Park 

zombie trailer park

Zombies vs. Robots Flash Game

There’s a pretty fun Flash defense game called Robots vs. Zombies that’s worth a look. If you’re bored and look for something fun to do, give this game a look!

Robots vs. Zombies.