Ah Christmas. A time for family, good food, and face gnawing zombies. Although a bit early, Toge Productions has started Christmas a week early by offering its newest installment in the Infectonator series, Infectonator Survivors Christmas, free to all the good little boys and girls.
A hodgepodge of gameplay
Infectonator Survivors Christmas is a conglomeration of a few of my personal favorite genres. The game provides certain elements from real-time strategy games, tower defense games, Rogue-likes, and even management sims. Infectonator Survivors Christmas may not be the first to pull this off this mixture of gameplay, but it certainly is a recipe for success.
The game starts you off with four characters that have found themselves in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. When you first begin, three of the characters are equipped with handguns and one has an axe. You position the characters strategically amongst the debris to combat an oncoming onslaught of flesh-eating zombies.
The zombies will start to move in on your screen after your positioning, or in the middle of it if you’re slow. Your characters will automatically attack, but you will have to pay close attention to the direction the zombies are moving in, your health, and of course your ammo.
The zombies come in waves, and although at times they can be a lot to handle, there is some downtime between waves where players are encouraged to search through the rubble for supplies, money, and even new weapons. There are definite advantages to searching, but while searching you are unable to move or fight. The last thing you want to do is be caught in the middle of a search when a wave of zombies descends on you.
You will lose if all of your characters are overtaken or if ten zombies slip past your defenses. If you can fight through each of the 8 different waves, you will establish a HQ and collect a tank of gas. Occasionally you will find merchants who are willing to sell you supplies and new guns. The guns can be costly, but who can put a price on survival?
The gameplay is absolutely infectious. Buying upgraded weapons. Positioning characters to do different jobs. Attempting to search every nook and cranny before the zombies take a bite. The game does get a bit repetitive, but with different weapon upgrades and bosses the repetition is forgivable.
The characters in the game all have different stats that allow them to perform better at different tasks. Some can build faster, some are quicker at searching, some have more health. You can certainly ignore these character stats and still play through the game, but Infectonator Survivors Christmas is much more enjoyable and easier to play when you use the characters correctly.
But even when you do use the characters correctly, the game is still very challenging at times. Characters die permanent deaths in Infectonator Survivors Christmas. This element to the game really hurts especially if you’ve been putting all of your money into that particular character’s weapons. The permadeath really makes you think before you position, and forces you to pay attention to what is happening during the battles.
Although the game is well made, and a lot of fun to play, I felt the AI used could use a lot more work. There were times where I would come across survivors who seemed downright suicidal. There were also occasions where I had the zombie horde bottle-necked and was able to handle the masses with 3 characters. I then wanted to use my other guy to go search through some boxes on the other side of the screen. There was a path with zero resistance that he could have easily taken, but instead he walked right into the horde and became dinner.
These issues are minor, and don’t mess with the core gameplay very much. Just be prepared for this kind of annoyance to occasionally pop up.
Zombies rockin old school style… and Santa hats
For a browser game, Infectonator Survivors Christmas looks, runs, and sounds great. The game goes for an old school SNES feel and does so quite well. The game never once lagged or had any issues switching between characters. Even with hordes of zombies racing towards me, the game ran smooth and was rather enjoyable. Although the 16 bit styling is appreciated, there is nothing that will wow you graphically about this game.
All around zombie fun!
The game may have AI issues at points, but overall Infectonator Survivors Christmas is an absolute blast to play. The game is challenging, will give you a good afternoon of gameplay, and is a free gift you shouldn’t turn down. You can find the game at Armor Games.