I know some people are burned out on zombies. Just this year, we’ve had Warm Bodies, that disastrous World War Z adaptation (the second film this year I could not bring myself to review after watching), The Last of Us, the re-release of The War Z (now Infestation: Survivor Stories), another season of The Walking Dead, and the constant threat of new zombie projects on the horizon.
Organ Trail, a retro-PC strategy game, is different. It’s a play on Oregon Trail reset during the zombie apocalypse. You make strategic decisions like choosing whether to wait out a zombie horde, drive through slowly, or shoot out a path before going through. You stock up on supplies in towns and can even pick up jobs to earn a little cash on the side.The new spin on this throwback PC-styled game (double nostalgia: the graphics in the shooting/exploration scenes are strongly influenced by Atari 2600) is the biggest draw and the darkest element. If one of your fellow survivors becomes sick, critically injured, or infected, you can choose to kill them.
An infected survivor is a no-brainer. You destroy them to protect the clan.
But what about the strategy of winnowing out the sick or the injured? They can’t do any work. They delay your party with healing time, eat your food, and waste all your medkits only to get sick again. How will you choose to react when resources are scarce and the zombies are growing in numbers? Will you take sympathy on your ill companion or put the good of the healthy survivors over the needs of the weak?
Organ Trail is all about the darker spin on the strategy genre. The jobs you can choose usually involve killing other survivors. They’re robbers and criminals, sure, but they’re not zombies. The in-fighting has already reached the point that survivors have formed factions in every city. How do you even know the people hiring you aren’t the bad guys in the scenario? Do you turn a blind eye on some of your fellow survivors to get cash for you own gain?Let’s say, for a moral reason, you choose not to take those jobs. Great. You can scavenge for supplies. That means wandering around broken buildings, shooting at zombies (sometimes giant bears), and randomly picking up supplies. Maybe you’ll get that tire you need. Or maybe you’ll pick up 10 bullets, a dollar bill, and lose half your health bar thanks to a savage wave of zombies. Does a shoot-out with a building full of survivors sound too bad anymore?
Organ Trail is a really inexpensive indie game considering this depth. The first version of the game is free on Facebook. The Director’s Cut is where all the magic happens. The regular price is $4.99 for Steam and Desura. You can also buy the smaller Android and iOS vesions for $2.99.
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