If you came here from the front page where this was one of the three articles at the top of the page, I apologize for the bad joke, but I couldn’t think of anything else clever enough that would fit. With that out of the way, allow me to explain something. I like games where you shoot zombies. I like 2-D side-scrollers. I like tower defense games. However, I can honest say I’ve never thought about combining all of these together into one game. However, Meridian4 has done just that with their new game Deadly 30 for the PC. Let’s dive in and see how this mesh of genres works, shall we?
The goal of the game is simple: just survive thirty days and nights of zombies attacking your base. Couldn’t be easier, right? Well, as simple as it sounds, it’s not so simple in execution. Let me explain. You begin the game by going to your base and turning on a generator. Your generator must be protected at all costs, as it is game over if it’s destroyed. Each day you can explore different areas to your left and right, with two areas in each direction. However, the middle area that has your base is the only area where zombies will not attack you during the daytime. The first areas to the left and right have some zombies here and there, while the areas next to those have a lot of zombies to contend with. There are a couple things to keep in mind though. First off, exploring these areas allows you to pick up some scrap metal, with are resources in this game. These allow you to buy ammo, health packs (I wouldn’t use a health pack made of scrap metal, would you?), new guns once unlocked (more on that in a bit), and upgrade your defenses and armor. The second thing to keep in mind is the little “clock” at the top of the screen showing what period of the day it is. Once it gets close to sunset, the game will urge you to get back to the base, as zombies will attack it at night.
At your base you can purchase ammo and upgrades as mentioned before, as well as boxes to stack up to help defend the base. To get slightly off topic, I can’t see how a simple wooden box would stop a blood-thirsty zombie, but that’s just me. Anyway, you can also go in a door that takes you up to the second floor of the base to get a better vantage point. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to do. I’m a terrible shot up there so I always stay on the ground. At this point, the zombies attack the base and you have to mow them down any way you can. If you’re close enough you’ll use a knife to slash at them, but that also means you’re probably taking damage. The zombies will attempt to take down your fences, then any boxes you happened to place in the way, then your generator, and they’ll come at you from both sides. Last long enough and day break will come for day 2, and you get to do it all over again…and again…and again…thirty times total, with zombies getting stronger all the time.
So…that’s it. That’s the game in a nut shell basically. With that, let’s get into what I do and don’t like about the game. First off, as stated above, I do like the three genres this game represents, and the idea of putting all three together seems like a good idea, but the execution seems a little flawed. My number one and number two problem with this game tie together: I keep running out of ammo quickly, and I keep running out of resources quickly to replenish my ammo. Ammo doesn’t cost much (typically 25 resources for 30 machine gun bullets), and I’m not saying I belong on Top Shot or anything (yes, they’re zombies, so I do aim for the head), but I still tend to run out of ammo quickly. Keep in mind that zombies will attack both sides of the base at the same time, so it’s a bit tiresome to keep running back and forth trying to take out zombies, repair a fence a bit, only to go back to the other side and defend that fence.
Thankfully, the upgrades can help. Upgrading your fence for example will increase the hit points of both fences, while buying the boots can increase your walking speed (more on controls in a minute). The one upgrade that does drive me nuts is the guns themselves. Whenever you level up through experience points, you unlock a new gun…sort of. As stated above, you get the ability to buy the gun, and even then it may not be your gun. You see, as you explore on some days, you’ll come across someone else trying to survive the zombie onslaught and they join you. Awesome, a new friend that you can play as. Wait a second. New friends… guns that “you” can’t use…yep, one and one make two. Basically, I saw that I unlocked a shotgun and wanted to use it, so I bought it (and THEN realized that I just bought it), selected it, open fired, and I was still using a machine gun. It wasn’t until the next day (day 4) when I found my new friend and realized he had a shotgun, so the shotgun I bought was for him. Still, it helped out a bit, but as the zombies got stronger I still kept running out of ammo. This is where I learned two very valuable lessons: learn from your mistakes, and don’t be afraid to start over.
The game has a continue feature and from what I can tell, the game saves at the start of each day, so if you die on night four, you can restart on day four, or you can start from scratch. My first time through, I naturally went all out and kept running out of ammo, so after upgrading my fences I kept buying ammo. Fast forward two more days and not saving for more upgrades came back to haunt me and I’m almost stuck. I still have yet to get through all thirty days, but it’s an interesting experience…except for one thing. I said I’d come back to the controls, so here we are. The game uses WASD to move and duck…okay, I’m not sure if W does anything really. You also have your typical action and heal actions, but the two that drive me batty are dashing and firing. Dashing is done by double pressing A or D and gets annoying towards the beginning of the game as it’s the best way to move quickly around the areas to explore. Aiming your gun is done with the mouse. Wherever you point the cursor is where you aim your gun, no matter which way you’re facing. It took some getting used to, but it’s almost second nature now.
The one thing that surprises me is how the game plays in full screen mode, which I partially recommend, and partially don’t. The part of me that recommends playing full screen is that in windowed mode I kept clicking outside the window, which made Windows focus on another program. Thankfully though, the game auto-pauses if that happens, but it’s still annoying. The part of me that doesn’t recommend full screen mode is that no matter what video setting I put it on, I occasionally had some choppiness when too many zombies appeared on screen. The best way I could fix this is if I set the video to the middle graphics option and put the resolution at 800x600, and I’m running this on a machine with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 8GB of RAM on an ATI Radeon 5670 graphics card.
To be honest I have mixed feelings about this game. It’s one of those games that drives me nuts, but I want to come back to, despite any flaws it has. In that sense, it’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s not a terrible game either. The fact that you can download it for only $5 is nice, as I wouldn’t pay too much more above that for it. Basically, if you like shooting zombies and have a spare $5, this one might be worth picking up, but be warned that it’s definitely not for everyone.