The game sees you leading a pack of survivors through grid-based levels filled to the brim with a variety of slobbering undead wretches. Unlike other turn-based games where each unit moves individually, here the two sides have different styles.
The survivors move one at a time, letting you pick out your actions and make your stand; the zom-bies move all at once, crowding in around you and attacking as a pack. There are icons to make sure you know what’s going on – marks on the squares show where you can move and attack, and an exclamation mark flashes above your characters when they’re in range of a zombie’s next move.
Those characters are incredibly fragile – once they die in a fight they’re not coming back, which can make the next level even more difficult. You also need to feed them between each scrap – leave a character unfed for too long and they’ll die of starvation, again leaving you short for the next battle.
Different characters have different skills, too – some have shotguns, others just wave around sticks, and there are characters with powerful fists who can knock back the horde. That’s really im-portant, because there’s a clever ‘grasp and bite’ system here.
A zombie holding onto one of your fighters will attack the next turn, and when they’re that close you can’t use a ranged weapon to get rid of them. Using your team in unison is the key to success, and leaving one of them stranded with a bad move can really ruin your chances of victory.
Wanna Survive manages to blend its two ideas together really well and fits the end product onto mobile in some really clever ways. Levels never take more than a few minutes, and a save system at the end of each fight lets you back-up your progress in case you take too many casualties and need to restart.
It doesn’t loosen up the genre enough to make it welcoming to everyone, but it makes for a more frantic and entertaining experience that, even when it gets super-hard, is going to keep you com-ing back for more.
Learning about how the different zombies move and attack is super-important if you want to succeed. Once you’ve got the knowledge, you can figure out what’s what with a glance, and that’s testament to the brilliant design of the game.
Wanna Survive is tough, but massively rewarding at the same time.
Format: iOS (tested) / Android / PC
Release: Out now