Another EGX Rezzed has been and gone and after last year’s successful event, the exhibition returned once more to London’s Tobacco Dock. This was my second year at this particular event and as with last time, there were a number of gems to be found in the Indie section of Rezzed 2016.
Previewed on: PC
Also Available On: Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Available on Early Access, Full release TBA
One such gem has set out to answer that age old question, the one we’ve all been asking, what happens when you heavily arm wildlife during a zombie apocalypse in London? I know right, it’s like they literally read our minds. The answer is Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse and, in this writer’s opinion, it was one of the big highlights of the entire three-day event.
Before I delve too much into the game itself, it is impressive to note that this stroke of indie genius has been brought to life by a team of two, Richard Hawkins and Robert Saxton, one artist and one developer. Setting up a new studio for the project, Aniode, the pair aims to take “gamers back to the awesome ‘scream at the TV moments'” they loved when they were young. If Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse is a good example of what they have planned for the future, they’re on the right track.
Back to the game itself, the premise is just pure madness. All humans have succumbed to a Zombie plague leaving the wildlife to reclaim the Earth. Desperate to prevent their own extinction, the animals take up arms to fight the undead. It’s a unique approach to the Zombie survival genre, I’ll give them that.
The game is jam-packed with a smorgasbord of features; including an array of animals to choose from, a ton of weapons to arm your chosen wildlife with, ranging from a Katana to a minigun, multiple environments and games modes, and the single best feature of them all, this is an eight player game – that’s local support for eight players, if this game moves online at any point, who knows how large your herd could be.
The gameplay is fantastically simple, no real instruction is needed, anyone can pick this up and be slaughtering the undead in seconds. It’s a testiment to the great game design implemented here as so many similar offerings seem to overcomplicate the controls and inadvertently restrict their audience. So, once you’ve selected your beast, armed them and chosen the arena, the fight begins. While you can just stick to your primary weapons and run around shooting Zombies, there are a number of additional mechanics available.
At periodic points throughout the game play, you will have the option to go into ‘Rage Mode’, if you do then your character will put away his/her weapon and take a turn on the wild side, rampaging through enemies kind of like a crazed animal, I suppose. You also have the ability to revive fallen comrads as well as collect health from crates dropped by your avian backup, with eight players on-screen though, there’s only really one thing that will have your attention, killing the bad guys.
With wave after wave of standard Zombies you might expect the appeal of the game to wane quickly, but Aniode are way ahead of you on that one too, with bosses appearing at certain points during the carnage. The first boss I had the pleasure of meeting was the Zombie Queen and her guards. Modelled loosely on our own monarch, the undead royal can take quite the onslaught and so teamwork is advised, that said you’ve still got the little guys to deal with in the meantime and the screen can fill up pretty quickly if you’re not very effecient with your ammo.
Graphically, this game looks fantastic. From the character models to the large arena environments, in a word, the artwork is quite simply perfect. The pleasing view really sets the tone for the entire gaming experience, the game as a whole is fun and the visual side only amplifies that. While my experience at Rezzed wasn’t completely glitch-free – it’s an Early Access build so this is entirely forgiveable, the game held it’s own extremely well considering there were eight of us rampaging through the environment with 30-plus Zombies in tow.
Overall, Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse is a fantastic indie game which has truly achieved what the team set out to achieve, a ‘scream at the TV’ experience which is just fun to play. With such an easy control set anyone can pick up a controller and jump straight into the action and I think that is going to be one of the big selling points here. This has all the makings of a pre-night out party game, the perfect gaming joy for when you’ve got a big group of friends over.
The game is currently still in Early Access on Steam with a full release on PC/Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One set for later this year, so there’s plenty of time for you to track down seven friends with Zombie killing skills and their own controller. If you’re on Steam then I highly recommend you give this game a go now, you won’t regret the purchase.