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Review: The Walking Dead Series for iOS

I’ve been an avid fan of The Walking Dead ever since I laid eyes on the original graphic novels, and the television show on AMC has had me hooked for the past three seasons. I have been trying to get my hands on everything and anything related to the series, because I just love the characters, the locales, and the plot twists. To be honest,  I haven’t been more engrossed in a storyline in a long time.

So imagine how happy I was to hear that the folks over at Tell Tale games created a game based on The Walking Dead universe. This multiple part series has been out for a while now, and I’ve already managed to play a few episodes of it on Xbox Live, but I was really interested when I heard it was going to be ported to iOS. I immediately grabbed the first episode on the iPad HD to give it a shot.

If there is one thing I hate though, it’s a review that “spoils” what’s going on for me in the game. Let’s be honest in saying that the best storylines in video games are the ones you know nothing about. Like reading a good book or seeing a move for the first time, you hate whenever someone reveals a big plot twist or the ending before you’ve had a chance to experience it. That being said, this isn’t the type of review that’s going to release any major information. Instead, I wanted to give all of you that are “on the fence” with this title a better glimpse at what you can expect as well as some of the series’ strong points.

From a graphical position, Tell Tale’s Walking Dead looks great. The visuals themselves are “cell-shaded” and appear rather cartoony, but that doesn’t mean they’re unrealistic. When it comes down to the brass tacks, these visuals convey a huge sense of realism, both in the faces of the zombie hoard and in the interactions and style of the innocents. All of the facial expressions and “injuries” look great and there is a huge sense of detail present across all of the objects, characters, and environments.

I was a little skeptical when the game first started, noticing how “cartoony” it appeared, and I was apprehensive to believe it was going to come across as anything more than a very comical journey. I’m happy to say, though, that this is definitely not the case, and if anything, the “downplayed yet detailed” graphics help this title to run smoothly on the iPad while maintaining a great sense of realism.

The sounds are expertly crafted, too. All of the shrieks, groans, and wails are perfectly executed and carry a great sense of realism. In fact, developers recommend that you utilize a pair of headphones when playing, and they’re very right. You’ll want to hear everything you possibly can when you play this title, and headphones will allow your ears to pick up on the very subtle details you wouldn’t hear otherwise. There is a plethora of little unique bumps and groans that really help to enhance the experience, and the sound will really help to keep you on the edge of your seat as you progress.

The gameplay is nothing short of perfection. Your character will move smoothly and interact with objects, all with the simple tap of a button. The controls are actually very “casual friendly.” I really applaud the developers for designing the title this way. It’s a shame to see most casual gamers miss out on a great title because it boasts complex control schemes that usually only appeal to hardcore gamers. Tell Tale’s Walking Dead manages to keep things incredibly simple, and all of the motions and interactions in the game are done by way of simple swipes, taps, and “timed button pushes.” It’s incredibly easy to learn, and you’ll be progressing smoothly through the game in no time, no matter your skill level. This helps the game appeal to a broader variety of players, which is a great thing considering I see it as a “must play” title for all you horror buffs out there.

The best aspect to this title, though, is easily the storyline. All of the voice acting, the character animations, and the plot culminate into a very powerful and emotionally moving masterpiece that is worthy of the Walking Dead name. There was a lot of creative thought that went into this title, and it really shows as you progress through the game. There is even a “choose your own adventure” aspect which has you making decisions from a number of “pre-designed” choices. This affects how the story plays out. You’ll also have to choose what you want to say to a specific person, and those choices will affect how much a given individual trusts you throughout the series.

It all breeds together into an amazingly deep and intricately thought out storyline. It’s not just about a zombie hoarde in this game, but rather, how an individual would survive in a post apocalyptic world teeming with danger, and the choices that would have to be made in order to create the most favorable outcome. It’s important to understand though, that this is not the traditional story that follows along with the television show or graphic novel. It is instead an entirely different storyline that is set within the Walking Dead universe.

Overall, this is an amazing series, and after playing chapters one, two, and three on iPad, I am very satisfied with how this release turned out for iOS. If you’re still unsure about purchasing this series because you feel like it might be too expensive or that it doesn’t justify the cost, then worry no more. This is an excellently crafted game and one of the best releases I have played for iPad. There are five episodes in total for the series (two of which haven’t made it to iOS yet), so you even have some extras to look forward to. You can grab the first episode of Tell Tale’s The Walking Dead right now in the App Store.

Photo Credit: Tell Tale Games

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