Daily Independent: Dead Horde Offers Zombie Romp
The Daily Independent is a recurring feature in which we shine a light into the darkened wilderness of indie gaming, illuminating both the good and the bad of what we find there.
Based on Dead Horde’s creepy first moments, and its excellent sound design, I was expecting a zombie game on the atmospheric end of the scale. After some blaring techno music, a gang of charging zombies (with zombie dogs thrown in for good measure) and one ignominious death, I could tell that I was mistaken.
That’s not to say that Dead Horde isn’t enjoyable. The top-down zombie shooter has its good points, particularly the sharp-loooking, post-apocalyptic environments and the breezy, arcade-style gameplay. It’s almost like a primitive version of Left 4 Dead. It’s just not long on the jump scares.
What it is long on is kiting. Since there’s no way to aim at a particular part of the zombie that’s hungrily charging you down (like the head, say, to just pick one at random), most of the game involves frantically backing up and firing, hoping that the undead menace in front of you will fall over before he gets a chance to wet his whistle. If you’re the kind of gamer that’s into extremely tense reload animations, Dead Horde might just be for you.
You won’t need to reload quite as often, however, if you take advantage of the upgrades made available in game. Killing zombies earns you cash, and that cash can be spent on increasing the clip size of your primary weapon, among other useful perks. The game also keeps a persistent, mutliplier-based score tally on the top of the screen — trash-talk fodder for the online co-op mode.
In addition to more straightforward zombie-killing, Dead Horde throws in environmental puzzles and vehicle-based sections. The latter are a blast — something about mowing down a horde of reanimated corpses never gets old. Sometimes, the two even combine — that forklift isn’t in the game because it’s fun to drive.
As you progress further in the game, you’ll encounter zombies that are more and more advanced, and acquire commensurately advanced weaponry with which to combat them. That ugly fellow pictured above won’t be quite as cocky once he feels the business end of your mini-gun, now will he?