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Walking Dead, Episode 1 Review: Gritty Zombie Adventure Gets It Right

The Walking Dead is quickly taking its place alongside The Living Dead series as a top-tier zombie franchise. And so it’s no surprise that its arrival on iOS is a high-quality affair. The Walking Dead: The Game is a phenomenally awesome adventure that perfectly captures the feel of the comic book and television series.

Created by Telltale games, The Walking Dead is story adventure game that puts you in the shoes of Lee Everett, a college professor and convicted felon who’s headed to jail on the day that the zombie apocalypse begins. He quickly finds himself running for his life and desperately seeking a safe haven while befriending other survivors and, of course, killing some zombies.

If you have ever played a Telltale game before, then you’ll know that they have a knack for making these sorts of story adventure games. The Walking Dead is a prime example of the genre. It’s got a good mix of interactive elements and cinematic story, not to mention a fine mix of puzzles, social challenges, and timed reaction challenges to keep the game interesting. It’s all done with a fairly intuitive touch interface, one with minimal on-screen elements and only the occasional problem with small or fiddily touch areas (usually on the iPhone).

More importantly, the game does an incredible job of recreating both the comic book look and human drama of the source material. Visually, Telltale Games has infused The Walking Dead with a phenomenal hybrid of 2D comic book artwork and 3D animation that neatly echoes the art of series regulars Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. And both the plotting and the scripting do a great job of focusing on the human dramas as much as it does the zombie apocalypse, something series writer Robert Kirkman is a master of.

One of the more interesting parts of the game is its Choose Your Own Adventure style plot. At various points during the game, you will be forced to make difficult choices (like, “Who do I save from the zombies, and who do I let die?”). your choices in the game actually effect later story elements and sometimes even determine which characters will follow you into episode 2. This makes for some great repeat play, as you can try for a different scenario to carry into the next installment; note, however, that the overall plot is fairly fixed, and so while your choices affect who’s with you and some of the specifics of how things happen, you’ll always end up in the same place when the game is over.

If there’s one complaint to be levied at The Walking Dead: The Game, it’s that it’s relatively short for its $4.99 asking price. Add to that, it’s just episode 1 — there will be more episodes coming, presumably each for purchase in-app. So the game could get a little expensive.

But this is a case where quality counts for something, and wow, is The Walking Dead: The Game of good quality. Add in the replay value the game offers, and it’s worth the price of admission. If you’re a fan of the show, or a fan of the comics, or a fan of zombies in general, pick up this game.

Our Score: 5 out of 5

Editor’s Note- A word of caution on the performance for older devices: Walking Dead only works on iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th gen, & newer devices. Even performance on the older devices like the iPhone 4 may feel a little laggy as reported by players around the world. Keep that in mind if you are thinking about purchasing this game. This review was written based on the performance on an iPhone 4S.

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