Mobile ports seem to be a common root for many Xbox One titles today. This is where it all started for Mobirate’s Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare which has over 1 million downloads on Android alone, so how does it perform on Xbox?
Fully focussed on assembling the strongest crew possible, you disembark from a zombie slaying road trap, that is an armoured bus to slay an area clear of zombies and your primary objective to destroy the blockade. Completing this grants XP and items to level up and unlock new crew members and upgrades to them and the bus itself, which keeps the game of interest.
Generally the game is a rinse and repeat job across the board, with levels mostly using the same 2D backdrop and the odd new zombie type thrown in to makes things that little bit more interesting. All in all, it’s an addictive algorithm we expect to see from mobile games. The game also offers a selection of paid skins such as a circus themed bus and other vehicle skins or unlockable characters to improve your odds of beating the level, which are purchased for real money. Largely these are cosmetic though, so there’s not much to upset the game balance, as even characters are skin based.
Failure is mapped to the bus’ health directly, so if too many zombies get past your summoned crew members, then your beloved transport is likely to burst into flames and explode into a bloody mess. Level gameplay is largely timed based, with a “Courage” meter building every second, in which you’ll need this to fill up to summon the bigger guys in your crew. For example a tank like character might take 100 Courage points to summon. In killing zombies though you may also land yourself free Courage handouts to speed this up.
The other meter to fill comes from killing zombies which is the “Rage” meter. This is used to summon barrels which can be used defensively or offensively depending upon the type. You can drop a heavy blue barrel on a zombie’s head to crush it or put a red explosive barrel near the barricade and wait for it to be destroyed, in return blasting surrounding zombies and the blockade with damage. Alternatively reaching 99 Rage unlocks a gatling gun on the bus clearing enemies on screen, which is always useful for larger zombie hordes later on. This is just one example of the many strategy elements to Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare.
Other decisions to be made are who makes your team, as you can only take 6 team members with you. Within your crew you can take a variety of classes to from melee, tank, ranged to a defensive blocking barrel. There’s even a point towards The Walking Dead’s Glenn who’s super sneaky and quick on his feet. Using these in turn is vital to beating a level and to gain 3 out of 3 stars you’ll need to destroy the blockade with no damage to your bus. In doing so, you’ll also land bonus coins and items, which are essential for levelling characters to the best of their abilities.
The level up process for characters also has a tactical choice to be made, as you can either level up their attack damage, defense or health. Every crew made in the game is likely to be different and it’s a shame there was no versus mode to pit crews against one another while having the spawning zombie horde as an added challenge. The variety level to items also controls the bonus granted to that character upon having enough coins earned from completing levels to level up.
The best place to find new items though are the game’s crates which can be found on map tiles once unlocked with Fuel points. Fuel is required to start a level or explore a tile on the pixel map, something which can often leave you stuck with nothing to do during later levels.
Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare is a fun to play mobile port packed with interesting unlockable characters and items to make the game feel enjoyable. Later levels can become tedious with a rinse and repeat on gaining more stars required and Fuel often limiting this, but throughout I was addicted and going back for more every night.
– A decent mobile port with added fun
– Wealth of interesting unlockable characters and skins
– Easy to play for hours
– Rinse and repeat gameplay becomes tedious
– Once completed all levels little left to do