In Radiation City, prepare to jump and prepare to die, a lot!
I have been a fan of Zombie games and movies for a long time. If you have kept up with home console systems, you are likely aware of Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, Deadrising, State of Decay, Plants vs. Zombies, Call of Duty: World at War and Black Ops and possibly Dying Light. Zombies are even more alive in television and movies with Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days later, World War Z, Zombieland and with The Walking Dead and iZombie. There are so many to mention, that I do not do this list justice. Regardless, zombies have become a cult following and even Marvel had a run of Marvel Zombies comics. Atypical Games, the makers of Radiation Island, bring a new game to the IOS App store called Radiation City.
Radiation city is a post apocalyptic game, set 40 years after the “unfortunate accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.” Exploring a huge open world area, you will need to gather supplies, survive hungry predators (I was eaten by a bear and a wolf), survive radiation, explore buildings/landmarks and for goodness sake “LIVE.” You start out with nothing, stranded after a plane crash. You will need to search the grounds, search buildings, landmarks, etc. for “ ! ” and pick up clothing, tools, food, and medications. The opening cinematic is designed to give you the why and the what to do. If you skip this, you may be left thinking to yourself, “what am I doing?”
If I had to choose between a slow zombie and a fast zombie, I would definitely choose a slow one, preferably a double tapped dead zombie. Similar to World War Z, the zombies in this game is fast and will be upon you faster than you can say “ahh.” I am not a jumpy person, but there were moments that I jerked opening a door or running around a corner. I was not able to discover if different weapons had different strengths. Everything in the game does have a durability and will break down over time. However, I could not determine if a meat cleaver was better or worse than a shovel or a lead pipe. Additionally, I was unable to determine if different zombie types had different health bars. Sometimes they would die in a few hits and other times it felt as if I was in a street fight. To survive the fights, you really need to find clothing/bags early on in the game. The personal effects will allow you to hold more items and weapons. You will need to juggle health, stamina, temperature, radiation, injuries, and thirst. Throughout the world, you will find wells to rehydrate, you will need to stand still if you become over tired and you will need to get indoors or find better-insulated clothing for cold and for radiation exposure.
There are quest waypoints, designed to act as quest progression. You will find pieces of the story and tools to help you along the way. Not too far into the game, I found some Nagant and revolver ammunition, but I did not find any firearms until I got to the police station. As you come upon a home, a building, etc. you can enter by running into the door. Unfortunately, you cannot close the door behind you. This really needs to be a feature in this game. I found zombies rushed into open doors unless they were blocked by entrance geometry. As you search homes, you will notice loot items scattered throughout the buildings. You can pick them up or choose to leave them for later. As far as I was able to tell, they stay where you left them. Any zombies you kill, inside of buildings, may or may not stay dead. Also if you walk far enough away from the building, or if you die, the doors will close and zombies will respawn. You may come upon some doors with a cog icon, which is designated as a locked door. You will need to either find a lockpick or craft one, using the in-game crafting system. Search everything and look for the loot icon. You will find items in a variety of places. Definitely keep a look out for duck tape, wires, and spare metal, as you will need this to rebuild your first car. The car is a must have item because the trunk will provide you valuable storage space.
Relatively early in the game, you will find a tent camping site. When you sleep, at night only, this will allow you to move your spawn point and to quick travel with the map. You can place the car there and use this as a central exploration point. Move out, explore the areas and litter the spawn with your drops. Put what you definitely want to save in the trunk and get rid of the rest. I personally wish that you could load a bag and put the bag in the trunk. I also wish that you could build storage boxes or build/enhance your camp. Alas, this is not possible. As you search the area, you will need to find food, radiation pills, vitamins, bandages etc. It is very difficult, to not use them as you get them. As you find new clothing and bags, with better protection, more storage, etc. the game does get easier. Additionally, as you kill zombies, you generate experience. You can use this experience to upgrade your character’s statistics: stamina, strength, thirst resistance, cold resistance, radiation resistance, etc.
Each time you die, there is a chance that you may lose some of your items and a skull and crossbones will be listed on your map. You will keep your statistics and your car will be where you last used it. Across the top of the game, the screen is a scrolling compass. You can use this and the in-game map to navigate the expansive open world environment. Across the compass, you can see tents (camping), car icons, a green waypoint marker and the cardinal directions. Again, do not let your guard down because you will turn a corner and run smack into zombies. Follow the compass to your point of interest, regain your dropped items or go back to the death point. Make sure that you sleep in a tent, otherwise, you will end up back at the opening location. Additionally, there were a few crashes of the game that lost all of the data/items etc up to the previous save. This part was annoying and there are a few complaints about this on the Mac OS App Store.
This is the first game, of this type, that I have played on my iPad. I have so many positives to state about the game, but there are some limitations to this game. The first and possibly biggest complaint I found was the movement. You will get stuck in doors, you will get stuck in openings and turning is often a challenge. This is even worse when all of a sudden you hear grunting and are taking damage from radioactive monsters. I did have opportunities to use this limitation by killing a zombie trapped behind a door or ladder. I do appreciate the attention to details. The zombie motions are choppy but appear designed to show the lumbering movements. The lurkers/crawlers are scary and have different mechanics than the walkers. I absolutely love that there are a variety of mobs, crawlers, runners, lurkers, etc. I feel that there needs to be life bars or names to identify difficulty. As stated above, sometimes 1-2 hits may be sufficient and other times you can hit the mob with a wrench/bat/meat cleaver or another weapon repeatedly and have no idea how much life/damage the beast has actually taken. Be cautious of the ghosts.
I really like that there are numerous health threats to consider: radiation, bleeding, hunger, thirst, broken bone. I love the loot system, when zombies drop items and when you need to search the environment for your needed food, water, containers, fire, ammunition, clothing, etc. As alluded to above, one of the most annoying issues at first is finding stuff only to have nowhere to put it. Search heavily for a fanny pack or backpack (found in one of the early buildings). I love the crafting aspect, but you will not be able to hold enough stuff initially. You will be able to create lockpicks early in the game. Additionally, it is really convenient that you can open and close those doors. I will warn you, however, some of the locked doors do not have anything worth your time. Additionally, if you return to the houses after death the doors are relocked.
I love that you can explore as much as you want and then decide to follow the pathway to the game. There are helpful information panels that will pop up during the game. There are no cut screens or transitions, as this is truly an open world. Complete quests, kill, gain experience and upgrade your abilities. I started focusing mostly on strength and stamina, which really did provide benefit. This game has so many layers of complexity, that you will want to continue searching. You need gas for cars, if you take too much damage you will have to hunt down repair products (2 duck tape, wires, scrap metal). You can kill animals and take their meat. Eat it raw or cook it. You can fast travel and you can fast travel inside of your car. Do not let your guard down, do not passively stroll through the town. The game is very enjoyable and has an apparently strong replayability. I would rate the app at 4/5 stars
DOWNLOAD – Radiation City – $4.99