I did a review of the beta for this game a few months back and now it’s hit full release. Many of the features remain the same but more have been added and refined. Zombasite is the latest action RPG released by Soldak, the developer behind Din’s Curse and Depths of Peril. It’s procedurally generated, which gives great longevity to the game as no two playthoughs are the same. Even if you choose to start a new game with an old region, it only carries over certain aspects such as clan power, relations and shared loot, which is handy if you don’t feel like starting completely from scratch. The gameplay mechanics mixes action RPG controls with a political system more reminiscent of turn based strategy games like Civilisation with options for peace, war and alliance and the need to strengthen your faction to discourage invasion.

There’s no lengthy introduction in this game, you’re just dropped straight into the action. You’ll start out in your survivor’s village with a couple of clan members. You can recruit more through completing quests and recruiting other survivors out in the field. The more clan members you have, the more powerful your clan is and the less likely it is for other clans to raid or declare war on you. You can pick up quests straight away from the board in the middle of the village and the nice thing is that you’re free to complete them in whichever order you wish. Rival clan also have quests which you can complete for them which will increase your reputation. Each quest is given a priority banding and the lower the number the more urgent the quest and generally bad things happen if you don’t complete them in time. One of the annoying things in this game is that there is no clear timer as to how long you’ve got which I think would make this element less frustrating.

The creation screen, when starting a new game, is a strange mix of that expected for an RPG with options on class and gender and mob level, and a more Civilisation style world creation with options for area size and number of factions. It sounds like a strange merging of genres, but it works really well, and I think part of that is due to the skill of the development team, in artfully blending the different aspects into one seamless and unique gameplay style.

One of my concerns with this game is the sheer amount of features it has. Back when I first played the beta I found it all a little overwhelming and with the addition of extra features such as being able to set the activity of the clam member you leave behind and juggle peoples relationship issues I feel that’s likely to be even more the case now. UI is complicated and just feels over burdened, and this is a shame because once you get to grips with it the game is really enjoyable, but I can see some players giving up early on, in frustration. There’s a lot to this game and all there is to explain it is a long line of flashing question marks which fast drove me up the wall. These can now, thankfully, be turned off in second playthoughs, but I do think that this game badly needs a tutorial.

I love the randomly generated environments in this game and I love the way the world comes alive with the other factions all visibly adventuring, themselves, as well as raiding and allying with each other. It’s actually quite fun to watch. However, one aspect I do find frustrating is that all the rival clans seem to start with eight guards at their gates and the player starts with none. Furthermore, the drop rate for these guards is extremely low, so I’ve never managed to get more that three at once. This leaves village security frustratingly weak, and not by the player’s fault. I think this is really unfortunate as it does work to hamper the joy of exploring the world when you frequently have to drop what you’re doing to rush back and defend your village because it seems completely incapable of doing so on its own.

Another concern I have is the graphics which is charming, in an old fashioned way, but clearly falling behind that of even other current indie games. The visuals badly need a revamp and while I enjoyed the game, nonetheless, I can see people being put off. The marketing of the game, particularly the title, has also made a big thing of the inclusion of zombies, but they’re not actually a main feature of the game. In fact, I quite often found myself forgetting the zombie apocalypse, survival aspect was even there. I think the name ‘Zombasite’ is a bit of a misrepresentation of the game as it brings to mind a standard and boring zombie survival horror game, which this is certain not, and I see that as a good thing. The game is far more than the title promises, which leaves me concerned that many potential players will overlook it with the wrong assumptions.

I would just like to say, that despite a few gripes, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this game. I’ve found it very addictive to play and with the randomly generated terrain the game delivers many hours of gameplay, as each playthrough starts with a fresh map to explore and new clans to co-exist with. For the price, it offers a large amount of game time for your money, as there are a near infinite number of new worlds to explore. The game really does never end as if you win in one region you’ll simply start up in another against stronger foes and stronger clans.

There’s a demo available via Steam, so if you’re not sure if it’s your thing then you can give it a try for free, and I certainly suggest giving it a try.