Like a mysteriously silent walker lurching out of the woods to sink its teeth into your face, Skybound's comic book based The Walking Dead Assault came out of nowhere this morning to take a large bite out of fans' free time.
Normally when a game based on a major property arrives with little fanfare on the iTunes App Store it isn't a good sign. Instead of a quick and dirty cash-in, however, Assault is a meaty chunk of squad-based survival horror that faithfully follows Rick and crew through several arcs of Robert Kirkman's award winning comic book series.
The game begins with Rick waking up in the hospital, rendered in striking sketchy black-and-white 3D. Using a fingertip to navigate, the player guides our hero through the hospital and out into the surrounding area, scavenging supplies and auto-attacking walkers with melee and ranged attacks. Completing the chapter and earning achievement unlocks The Walking Dead goodies like trivia and wallpapers.
In the second chapter we gain control of Rick's "friend" and fellow officer Shane. Together they form a squad (up to four characters can be mixed-and-matched up at a time, once unlocked), sweeping the city for supplies, taking down walkers side-by-side and searching for lucky survivors.
For $US1.99 The Walking Dead Assault takes players through 10 chapters, following the early stages in the comic. The next instalment picking up around the time the survivors find the safety of a (mostly) abandoned prison complex. It looks like the plan is to keep this up until the entire comic series is covered.
What a pleasant surprise this game is. Most unexpected and greatly appreciated.
The Walking Dead Assault ($1.99) [iTunes App Store]