By: Vincent Haosun, OnRPG Mobile Guru
Location based games are the type of games I avoid like the plague since I prefer gaming within the bounds of my comfort zone, (ie. my home). I did try Google’s Ingress for a bit, but since I haven’t a decent mobile internet for my phone I decided to delete the game after a week’s of test-playing.
And here we have Map of the Dead. I was actually stoked when I heard of it a year ago and now that I had the chance to try it out, my excitement was rewarded handsomely.
Location Based Gaming without Going Out
One of the first things that I loved about Map of the Dead is that it’s a location based game that doesn’t require you to go out and do things. The iOS exclusive game is powered by Foursquare and uses the foursquare technology in finding out notable areas within your vicinity that you can scavenge.
You don’t have to go out and lounge around the nearest bar to see if you can score weapons, equipment or recovery items. As long as foursquare has them in your vicinity, it will appear in your map as an area ripe for the picking.
Map of the dead’s gameplay is simple. As part of the remaining humans left in a zombie infested world, your task is to survive the apocalypse by scavenging areas marked within your map. Each marked area has a risk level where it helps you determine if you’d be facing with a lone dead-person walking of a bunch of the ghastly undead.
As you enter each area you have the option of either fighting the undead or sneaking past them. Attacking the walking corpses means you have to successfully go through a timing based mini-game before you can scavenge the area. Attacking is turn-based so don’t expect to get through an area unscathed unless you’re able to kill all the zombies at one go.
Sneaking on the other hand requires a little more finesse and a having a successful sneak would immediately let you scavenge the area without bashing heads in. Each area you scavenge will only be available once again after 6 hours, regardless if you fought, sneaked or ran away from the zombies that blocked your way.
Every player in Map of the Dead has their own one place that will serve as their base of operations. You have two storage devices in the game, the first one is the backpack while the other storage device is your base. You backpack is the limited storage space that you’ll be using mostly as you play MotD. The backpack space is limited and will serve as your mobile storage device when you travel outside your area to scavenge for more items and equipment.
With the premise already painfully obvious. You’ll be basically stockpiling your resources at your base as you progress through each area. Scavenging randomly gives you either recovery items in the form of food, or weapons and equipments that vary from hammers, pen openers and even the usual guns such as pistols and assault rifles.
Aside from getting them through random encounters, you can also purchase said items through the requisitions tab. Using the in-game currency (ammo), you can purchase and sell everything you’d need during the zombie apocalypse which you are playing through.
As I mentioned before, the game also gives you the option to sneak through the undead guardians of the area you plan to scavenge at. The game takes into consideration a lot of factors whenever you head out and scavenge the area around you. When you’re fighting against the zombies, there’s the random chance that the noise your weapon attracts other zombies and that you’d have to face another set of zombies before you can scavenge the area.
The risk level of the game isn’t as reliable as you’d expect since there will be moments when you enter a level 1 risk area and find yourself going against around 46 zombies. On the other hand, you’d also be experiencing level 2 or 3 risk areas that may contain only 1 zombie roadblock. So the unreliability of the risk factoring adds the random factor for scavenges and gives the game a little mix em up regardless of how low or high risk each area is.
As of this post, the game has just been released and I expected the game to be buggy. And again I wasn’t disappointed. There have been moments where I would lose large tracks of items because the game suddenly bugs out.
It happened at my base when I was transferring the small first-aid kits from my backpack to my base stockpile, then the game suddenly crashes and when I log in, I lost all my small first-aid kit from my backpack AND my base stockpile. This also happened to my weapons and equipment as well.
The game also seems hard-pressed in keeping up with players who move through items/menus very quickly. I’ve had the experience of the game crashing when I moved through the menus faster than normal (since I’m impatient that way). So the only solution I can provide right now for that is to be patient or you’ll really regret it.
Map of the Dead is addictively simple that regardless of how basic the game’s premise is (kill, collect, survive) I find myself logging back in every after 6 hours. The game’s simplicity and the convenience of scavenging make the game such a convenient game to play that the game’s bugs are forgivable.
I am excited on what’s in store in the future since there are a lot of game features that have yet to be used to it’s full potential. I’m referring to the in-game unit system since as of now what you only have is to add people as “friends” or units of your team. I would love to see how they would factor into gameplay changes in future updates.
If you’re looking for a decent zombie game for the iOS, I’d highly recommend Map of the Dead. I mean sure, this is a location based zombie-themed survival game, at least you are not forced to go out just to scavenge so there’s a lesser chance of you looking like a doofus just to progress in the game.