Tobold's Blog
Friday, July 15, 2016
Zombie Castaways

For me there are basically two kinds of games on the iPad: Those that concentrate on the short-term minute-to-minute gameplay, whether that is Magic Duels or Angry Birds, and those that concentrate on the long-term game, like building a city or empire over weeks or months. One variation of the latter is the exploration game genre: You still need to build a city, but you start out with very little habitable space and spend most of your time removing rocks and trees and other obstacles to clear the way. Usually there is some sort of fog of war over the areas you haven't cleared yet, and so in addition to the fun of building a city with a working economy you get the fun of exploring.

One such game is Zombie Castaways, a game that doesn't take itself too seriously. While castaways on an unexplored island are a typical theme for exploration games, in Zombie Castaways your citizens and workers are all zombies, and there is a general theme of humorous "horror". Interestingly there are different island in the game which have different modes of gameplay. On the first you gather three different types of tools to use to remove stones, trees, and bushes by clicking on them. On the second you have zombie workers that you need to supply with brains, and they'll do the clearing for you. There  are treasures to be found, containing a multitude of items that form collections, which can be handed in for various resources.

The fundamental limitation of exploration games is that you can't play them forever: There is a large but limited number of objects to clear and areas to explore. But apparently Zombie Castaways gets around that problem by having temporary islands pop up, which disappear after two weeks or so. The exploration gives you experience points which give you levels, and those unlock increasing numbers of crops to plant, buildings to construct and resources to gather and craft. Overall quite a nice variety of different gameplay elements and activities.

Zombie Castaways is Free2Play and is relatively nice about it: It doesn't constantly nag you for money or push you into paywalls. I tend to spend some money on the Free2Play games I play if I like them, and then I check how much bang you get for your bucks. In Zombie Castaways a moderate amount like $20 gets you quite a lot of comfort functions like "brainy" zombies you don't need to feed with brains to make them work or supertools you can use on any obstacle. As I had some other games recently where $20 got you nowhere, that was a nice change. Still you can play the game for free quite reasonably as well. I probably won't play this for very long, it is the kind of game I play for a few weeks and then move on. But right now I am having fun! Recommended!

If you're done with that and need a new game check out Poly Bridge. It can be played onehanded if that hand can use a mouse.

Building bridges might not sound too fun, but it really is. Starts very easy but makes you scratch your head later on. With 2 worlds of 15 levels done under budget and under 100% stress I actually was in the top 2% shortly before it went from early access to release, now it's top 0,4% :-)

105 levels total. It also has workshop/sandbox mode for user created levels so potentially endless fun.

Replayability once you beat a level is through completing it under budget/stress or if you are a master engineer try to get cheapest solution for #1 rankings.

What I also like very much is that failing is actually fun, never smiled or giggled so much when failing in any other game. There isn't "the one" solution to a level, your bridge can be as creative as you are.
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