Thursday, December 02, 2010

Die2Night Review: Zombie Fever grips the web!

Who knew that trying to survive against hordes of zombies while being cooped up with complete strangers, many of them a bit insane, could be so much fun?

Die2Night, a new web-based, zombie survival game, lets you do just that. Thrown into a town with 39 other folks, your mission is to work together to survive the horrible, zombie-filled nights ahead for as long as possible.

The game is free to play, though of course, there are some options to pay for perks. What makes this game really interesting is the social dynamic. When you start, you join a new town of 40 citizens, each one another player. There will never be any new citizens. Only losses to the zombies and the mental anguish that comes with any post-apocalyptic horror.

Within the game you can go out and scavenge the wasteland for goods, or stay in town and try to build defenses against the oncoming hordes that descend each night. But within each decision lies a social dynamic. There are only a certain number of action points to go around each day. And if you don't have enough defenses, people die. So agreeing what to build and when to build it becomes crucial. And at some point, food and water start to become scarce (water is also used to kill the zombies, making it doubly precious), lending even more stress and conflicting motives to the situation.

But the game leaves everything wide open. You have very little control over your fellow citizens, and if they decide they want to build a ham radio while you're trying to nail together mattresses to survive the night, there is nothing you can do but complain! And believe me, someone will complain! Which leads to another facet of the game, personal politics! You can issue anonymous complaints against any or all of your fellow citizens. If anyone gets a total of eight complaints, they are 'banished', allowed to live in the town, but unable to take from the common stashes. Apparently the banished players get some special abilities that upstanding citizens don't, including the ability to start a coup, but I haven't yet been banished myself, so I don't know for sure. I'll have to work on that...

The varying interactions within each town are varied and fluid, and an endless source of both amusement and frustration. Giving players their own tools to deal with internal social issues is brilliant, and an area that I hope gets fleshed out more in the future. It certainly is something that is missing from most online games. Generally the best option you have is 'mute'!

I've just scratched the surface of the game, having only survived for 4 days in my best outing. But each town has been a different experience. And the developer promises more new content in the future to keep your days as a survivor varied and interesting.

This game manages to fill two niches - free web-based game, and zombie apocalypse game, doing an excellent job on both counts. Definitely worth a look if this sort of thing interests you!

No comments: