Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Fear is such an amazing emotion. Few other emotions can cripple human kind into such illogical approaches to decision making that we continue to put ourselves into more and more danger. Yet fear continues to be a heavily sought after reaction. Scary movies, scary books, and more recently scary video games continue to be a staple in our society. As video games mature, so do the levels of fear that we experience.
The iPhone is not without its attempts at scary video games as well. One of the more recent attempts is Aftermath, a Left For Dead style shooter based on a well established zombie infestation story line. There aren’t clear storyline elements laid out in Aftermath, but with chapters entitled Alone, Payback, Evacuation, Survival, and a challenge mode named Aftermath, it’s easy to draw conclusions on how the zombie infestation spread.
Aftermath uses an interesting control scheme that seems almost archaic at first. There are two circles on the display screen, one being used to move, and one being used to turn. There isn’t a shoot button, a reload button, or anything. As the game begins, there is an explanation that anything within the arch of the characters flashlight is considered in range, and the gun will fire. It seems really easy and watered down until there are 20 zombies coming at you at varying speeds and you’re trying to weave in and out of more zombies coming up from behind you for a brain feast.
While the controls do fit the intensity of the game at times, there are definitely flaws. With the difficulty that many games with this control scheme have, turning and ensuring that the character doesn’t overshoot the targeted zombie group takes some mastering. Thankfully there are sensitivity options to adjust to individual needs. My biggest issue came when grenades were introduced. The game was clear on how to use them, and I managed to get one off, but after 7 more failed attempts and three episodes of brain fests ending my game, I decided to scrap the grenades for the pistol. This made the waves of zombies quite a bit harder to tackle, but it was much more effective than trying to tap the icon while dodging and turning.
Graphically, Aftermath does a great job of utilizing the flashlight to really increase the suspense of the game. I’m not a big fan of zombie games, not so much because of the fear factor, but because I become a blubbering idiot for the first few seconds after being startled. It doesn’t work in a game style that feeds on startling players. Aftermath, maybe because of game play, maybe because of the size of the iPhone, really did a good job of being suspenseful and fun, without causing me to lose interest by constantly failing to keep my brains in my head. Don’t get me wrong, this game is tough, but it isn’t impossible.
There are minor glitches that I experienced in different areas throughout the game. At one point my character got hung up on a vehicle for a few seconds. I tried to re-create the condition 5 different times unsuccessfully, so I wouldn’t exactly call it a major issue. Another glitch I found was that sometimes zombies would go around fences, and sometimes they would go through them. This isn’t exactly a make or break glitch, and actually added to the suspense of the game.
I really enjoyed my time with Aftermath, despite the few issues I did have with the game. Anyone into either zombie games, or the dual stick control scheme, should give this game a shot. It’s not an extremely deep game, but it does a nice job of combining zombie destruction, linear levels, and dual stick shooting into a nice brain eating package.