Pop-culture would like to have us believe that it’s possible to survive a zombie apocalypse. With enough ammunition and luck, you’ll be able to get the girl/guy/attractive entity relevant to your sexual interests to jump-start that Cadillac and drive off into the rot-free sunset. However it isn’t possible, and Left2Die (Free), Everplay ‘s newly-released dual-stick shooter, wants you to know that. In the event of an undead outbreak, the best we can do is stave off the inevitable and hope that the people around us are either better shots or better at looking tasty.
Though perfectly suited for the single-player experience (those ‘kill X amount of zombies’ or ‘survive Y number of waves’ type scenarios can be surprisingly zen-like moments in your life), Left2Die’s tag line says it all. Don’t die alone. Bring a buddy. Share the chaos. Bond over brains. Yours. His. Theirs. Who cares? There are two options for those who want to play with friends: co-operative survival or deathmatch. Both formats are largely self-explanatory. In co-op mode, you and your pal will have to try and survive as many zombie waves as possible. In deathmatch, you’re pretty much going to have to do the same. The only difference is that you’re going to try to gun down the other guy as well.
(I have only one complaint about the multiplayer segment: there’s no replay button. Once you’re done, you’re done. If you want to play again, you’re going to have to go through the whole process of re-inviting your friend and so forth.)
Asides from dead people, Left2Die also has something else in abundance: unlockables (and style, but we’ll get into that later). Lots and lots and lots of unlockables. Not only can you purchase new characters with in-game money (you acquire this by shooting things and picking up stuff. Standard procedure), you’ll also be able to pick up everything from machetes to ‘light swords’ to saw launchers (it does exactly you think it does: it spits out saws. Lots of them). The weapons, if all the selection wasn’t overwhelming enough already, are all upgradable too.
Controls-wise, Left2Die plays the way you would expect it to. You’ll use the left ‘stick’ to control movement and the right to direct the shooting. In between, there are buttons that will allow you to shift from your primary weapon (these will always be firearms of some variety), your secondary weapon (these can vary from berettas to ‘light’ swords) and special weapon (to give you an idea as to what to expect, the game hands you a chainsaw from the onset). Lastly, you’ll find a reload button positioned at the right of your screen. The control scheme is relatively responsive but not spectacular. From time to time, I had problems firing shots accurately but that could have something to do with my ineptitude with the genre.
Is Left2Die worth the price of entry? That depends. How good are you at dual-stick shooters? I’m terrible at twitchy iOS games so the pacing felt just about right to me. However, veterans like Eli and Brad found it a tad bit mediocre. Largely straightforward and rather uncomplicated, the game is the sort that was built to be played during downtimes or on long, lazy afternoons, the kind of game you play when you and a friend have nothing better to do than battle for the coveted high score (or a new shotgun).
Visually speaking, Left2Die looks absolutely scrumptious. Though it sports distinctively cartoony undertones (the zombies look oddly huggable), little details like dead bovines and sparse lighting help to preserve the post-apocalyptic atmosphere. It’s a fine line that Left2Die is toeing but they’ve definitely succeeding in striking the right tone with this one. My only complaint about the whole production? The ‘special’ zombies remind me a little too much of the ones found in Valve’s Left 4 Dead.
All said and done, however, the answer is: yes. Buy this game if you enjoy zombies, if you like multiplayer, if you were looking for a co-op friendly dual-stick shooter, then Left2Die is something you should acquire. It’s not the deepest game out there (nope, no complicated decisions about who to abandon and who to save here. Just point and shoot), but it’s definitely en-gross-ing in all the right ways. However, if you’ll rather have them eat your brains than play another zombie-related game, Left2Die probably should be left alone.