You might not have downloaded it yet, but you've played Z-Day [$1.99] before. It's the game you play in your head while reading The Walking Dead; you know, that game where you plot out where you would go and how you would operate during the zombie apocalypse? That one.

Would you take in that stranger you found on the road? Would you mug him instead? Would you break into a police station surrounded by zombies? With moans at your back, three kills to your name and a sledgehammer at your side, would you stop to take a bag of tools from a broken-down car in the middle of the road?

These are the questions Z-Day asks, and presumably, ones you've considered before if a z-day daydream ever popped into your mind. Z-Day is a graphic novel spin on the Choose Your Own Adventure, text-based game, except its presented on iPhone and iPad in all of its gory, high-resolution art glory.

Playing is simple, and the moment-to-moment content is strangely intense. You start in your house. A zombie apocalypse has begun. You decide if you want to run or grab a new weapon. Then, you decide, while zombies are coming to the door, if you want to dig for supplies like duct tape, fight the zombies, or get to higher ground.

All along the way, Z-Day gives you plenty of entertaining situational content. At one point, you'll be asked if saving your best friend is worth a zombie attack. Later, you might bump into a roving band of gun-toting jerks robbing a pawn shop. Before that, you might meet your unfortunate end in the bowels of a police station, as a horde steadily infests it as you search for fat loot.

The most interesting thing about Z-Day is that it doesn't pull punches; if you make a bad decision, you'll probably die. Also, it puts you in horrible situations and then has you make uncomfortable decisions. As you play, you might notice things like empathy have vacated your brain in the face of so many horrifying scenarios.

Breaking this down mechanically feels like a disservice to the experience. In Z-Day, you'll be presented with a variety of Choose Your Action text boxes, hand-drawn graphic novel scenes, and a description of situations. Pick an action, and then move on to the next moment. The goal is survival, but even if you die, you'll be scored on a variety of elements, including your decision-making or the quality of your weaponry and items and the amount of survivors you brought along the way.

Z-Day doesn't have unique content, so you'll see the same situations over and over again as you restart. It's really up to you to role-play it and see different outcomes. There are quite a few, too, in each given situation.

I've been having a blast with this since it's essentially gameifies what runs through my head whenever I read or watch a piece of zombie content, but it's also solid production-wise. I heartily recommend this to anyone that still has an itch for zombies, or even an appreciation of primarily text-based titles.

  • Ali Khazayeni

    long live  text based game !

  • Daniel Reigner

    No forum thread for this yet?  I'm curious to see what others are saying about it.  This looks right up my alley!

    Brad, how much content would you say is in this initial release?  I saw on the dev site that they have Chapter 2 coming in a few months.

    • Anonymous

      Took care of that for you. There's a thread now. :)

    • http://twitter.com/nicholsonb Brad Nicholson

      Oh, man, I'm not sure. If you didn't screw up, I guess under an hour?

      • Vincent Farrand

        Under TEN minutes..

  • Vincent Farrand

    Its cool... but not $2 cool...
    I finished it in a few minutes without "dying"...

    • http://twitter.com/mongadillo Mongadillo Studios

      I just wanted to say first off, if you finished it in 10 minutes without dying, you are well prepared and will do just fine on ZDAY.  
      Also, wanted to mention that we are putting a LOT more content in, this is the first chapter, so stay tuned, you'll get more for your two bucks in coming weeks. 

      Ed Anderson
      Creator, ZDAY

      • http://twitter.com/pjmoreno PJ Moreno

        Nice to read that!!! I also felt it was kind of short, but it's a nice App... Great Job!!!

    • http://twitter.com/mguniverse Danny Perski

      Do you have any idea how little $2? What's wrong with you? 

      • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.blokzijl Brandon Blokzijl

        Count up all those $0,99-$1,99 purchases and it suddenly becomes a lot. You can't tell yourself "it's only $2" every time you make a purchase.

        Must admit that the game intrigued me though, however gonna wait till there's more content. Not cool enough yet for me to justify the price. Would have welcomed a $0,99 introduction price though (due to the "lack" of content at the start).

  • Vincent Farrand

    COOOOOL..... More content.... It was cool though.
    Kinda reminded me on a game called ZOMBI on my old c-64.... hmmm....

  • Karl Collier

    A superb app, really enjoying it - for like minded individuals also check out (free) Zombie Exodus, another 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style game and also very good. No graphics, unlike the superb ZDay, but nonetheless fun and engrossing. 

  • http://twitter.com/oooooomonkey Oooooomonkey

    Just played through this once and have to say. "loved every minute of it" well worth the price and can't wait to see what happens on another play and with future content.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelMatzat Michael Matzat

    The game looks good, the story at some points suffers from your basic Zombie problem (as in, to much fokus on the z action, like in the beginning were there already are a ton of zombies and very little survivers, there are storys that could be toled) but on the other hand it offers a very good pace with it´s short text and fast requests for new decisions.

    I am looking forward to more.

  • Anonymous

    Looks good. Another one for the wish list.

  • http://twitter.com/jinchoung jin choung

    haven't tried this one yet but it seems like it might be fun.  what i'm hoping for is something like "the king of dragon pass"... randomized narrative encounters every "turn", resources that must be accrued and spent and a "reckoning" phase...

    which is to say, something like the ol' standby "oregon trail".... i think the thing that can make these narrative games go is having a stat tracking "state machine" that gets updated with random encounters.  gives it both a narrative pulse and gamey replayability.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bingotheelectricdingo Stephen Levi Guptill

    Day Z is awesome.

ZDAY Survival Simulator Reviewed by Brad Nicholson on . Rating: 4