Zombie apocalypse games all seem to be cut from the same cloth: equip protagonist X with weapon(s) Y and unleash him on a hoard of zombies threatening to take over the earth
Lab of the Dead is an entirely different kettle of fish. The premise of this game is tongue in cheek and innovative—but do we recommend the app as a whole? Find out in our review after the jump.
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Features & Use
Okay, we may have exaggerated a tiny bit in the teaser—of course there are zombie games out there that are different and surprising – I'm looking at you, The Walking Dead – but Lab of the Dead really is quite something. In a nutshell, the undead are not confronted in as typical a way as one might imagine.
The setting of Lab of the Dead is a world that's overrun by zombies, and it's up to the game's protagonist Allen C. Tyler to “figure out what makes these undead creatures tick”. As luck would have it, several hundreds of zombies are locked up in hidden underground cells; it turns out that a previous team of scientists had captured them in order to experiment on them.
What, you ask, do these experiments consist of?
Well, they're pretty simply, but that doesn't make them any less fun.
Here's a play by play look at the game's mechanics:
Lab of the Dead is built on a level-like system. With every new level new items and important clues are revealed, including information about the Alpha Team, i.e. the group of scientists who originally began experimenting on the zombies.
Level by level Allen C. Tyler will uncover why the zombie plague broke out in the first place. Was it an act of nature, or are humans to blame? Play the game and you'll find out...
Each level contains items, new research methods as well as boosts to help speed things up within the game.
Boosts speed up the research process, heighten the “RP” and improve the zombie stats. RP are research conclusions that are reached by applying the various items. These achievements are then added to your account and may be used to uncover new items or get more boosts. There are also a bunch of research watermarks that can be attained, such as using 200 items, for which you also received RP.
The heart of the game is literally the zombie itself, or rather experimenting on zombies. Use the items to see how they react; items are split up into weapons, objects and food. Different items have different effects on zombies, but the zombie's mood also factors into the equation. They may react passively, neutrally or aggressively depending on what you're doing to them, as well as on factors such as their mood, how hungry they are and even their humanity. The zombie's previous life and history play a role, meaning it may have a penchant for certain objects that will trigger better RP and better reactions.
The game's scope is vast and hence it doesn't make much sense to try and go into detail about every aspect and feature. But let it be said that this game is massive, which is good news for those who enjoy it: you can look forward to many an hour, nay, week of enthralling zombie experiments. That said, the game's controls and stability leave something to be desired, but we'll go into that a little bit more in the following sections.
I enjoyed Lab of the Dead a great deal and must admit that it kept me up late on more than one occasion. It's the kind of game that will turn you into a bit of a game zombie, if you know what I'm saying.
A few drawbacks: the gameplay is not as diversified as it could be, and the storyline develops rather quickly, meaning it won't take gamers long before they suss out the entire narrative. The question is: will gamers keep going once they've uncovered the mystery? It would be great to see the narrative developed a bit more because there's lots of potential here (the intrigue surrounding the virus...).
Screen & Controls
On the one hand Lab of the Dead has great graphics, but it falls somewhat short in the controls department, which feel a bit clumsy at times.
Furthermore, the app is not optimally formatted for larger displays (e.g. One X or S3). The side frames are cut off, making the whole thing appear a bit less sharp overall
Too bad because, as mentioned, the graphics really are fun.
Speed & Stability
Lab of the Dead performed well during our test runs in the sense that it is fluid and quick to load, but it crashed a few times. We were able to reproduce instances in which the app crashed, namely by collecting certain items that are are necessary in order to advance to the next level with a given zombie.
Lab of the Dead can be downloaded for EUR 0.71 from Google Play. This pricetag strikes us as fair enough for such a fun game as well as considering that the app does fall short in some departments.