Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is one of the best episodic comics still being written, and with its combination of brutal action, tense horror and relationship between the survivors of the zombie apocalypse upfront, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
Kirkman’s comic is also the source of an iOS game by Telltale, Inc., which launched earlier on the PC and video-game consoles. Telltale is, of course, famous for its devotion to point-and-click adventure games, a genre it single-handedly revived. Their games till date have mostly been continuations of early PC adventure games made by LucasArts. Aside from that, the company has also worked with properties such as Jeff Smith’s quirky comic series Bone. Much like the early adventure games that served as inspiration for the company, the games Telltale is most famous for rely on a quirky sense of humour to keep them interesting, while The Walking Dead comics are tense and often depressing. With this game, Telltale had to go outside its comfort zone to make it fit in with the comics, and it has succeeded.
The game plays like an interactive comic book, so you move from scene to scene making decisions—which can be either in action or in dialogue.
All these choices add up and have an effect on the story, making it very compelling. The game is not set in the main storyline of the comic, but is taking place at the same time, so while you intersect with some of the characters from the books, you are in your own story.
The good stuff
The game looks good. It doesn’t look like the cheaper version of a full console release, which is exactly what it is. Instead, it’s almost indistinguishable from the console version, and at half the price.
The touch controls feel natural. The game wasn’t developed for tablets, but for a computer. But it has simple controls, and this helped port it for touch screens. Move by dragging the screen, tap to interact with objects and occasionally swipe for some actions.
The storytelling is excellent. Telltale has done an excellent job of adapting Kirkman’s world to a game. There is a lot of tension and outright fear, but at the end of the day, the game, like the comic, is defined by the relationships you form with the other survivors.
It’s late—the console version came out a full two months before the iPad version, and while the second chapter of the story is now available on the big screen, there’s no word on when it will be available for the iPad.
Only the last two generations of iPhones and iPads can run it. If you have a first-generation iPad, you’re missing out on the most immersive experience on the App Store.
Walking Dead: The Game is available on the App Store for $4.99 (around Rs 300). There is no news about an Android version.