Full Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Scopely. You can learn more about my disclosure policy here.
Walking Dead games have always been able to absorb me in ways the TV shows never could. Imagine my excitement when I saw a new game in the series waiting in the iOS and Android store. The Walking Dead: Road to Survival is out and brings with it a host of unique features you don’t often see in a mobile app. What makes this game special is how it manages to take the type of tough moral choices from the Telltale Walking Dead games and combine it with more traditional mobile and RPG gameplay to create a deeply satisfying experience.
Everything you do in Road to Survival has consequences. This is true both in the decisions you make, and in the fact that the game’s two separate gameplay modes – RPG and city building – are directly linked.
First, the moral choices. Like the beloved Telltale Walking Dead games, Road to Survival comes equipped with several tough moral decisions for you to make along your journey. These choices never seem to have an easy answer. For example, early on in the game you capture a handful of dangerous bandits that attacked you along your travels. They swear to never return if you free them. Do you take them at their word? Or do you order your men to shoot them on the spot? These decisions have consequences – some immediate, and some when you least expect them.
The decisions, as stressful as they are, are merely short interludes between the two main types of gameplay. You will in fact spend most of your time in Road to Survival either fighting walkers in order to gather supplies you need to upgrade your civilization, or upgrading your city to provide materials you need to upgrade you soldiers. It’s this gameplay loop that makes both aspects of the game essential; you can only grow stronger in one mode by completing content in the other.
Of the two gameplay modes, the RPG combat is my favorite. The game has a standard turn-based combat system that most will understand. There exists a rock-paper-scissors strength/weakness chart you can use to improve your odds, and it’s essential to exploit your enemies’ weaknesses in some of the game’s harder battles.
Where the RPG systems become more complicated is in upgrading your soldiers. Additional soldiers can be either found or purchased from the in-game shop, and then leveled and upgraded with new gear and weapons to make them better fighters. It was cool to watch a character grow more and more powerful until he was the top damage dealer by the end of the game. The upgrade systems can be a bit confusing to start, but with a bit of patience you should quickly learn where and how to place your upgrade points.
The base-building sections of the game will be familiar to any free-to-play enthusiast. You build farms and storage units so you can collect resources and upgrade your town. The larger your town gets, the more things cost to upgrade and the longer they take to build. It likely won’t shock you to hear that a form of real-money currency is available in the game’s shop that will help you build your town faster, as well as access stronger characters and weapons.
Something I would have liked to see is more variety in the types of soldiers you can bring into combat. Most of the characters I unlocked were of the rugged male variety, which was too bad. While the hit AMC series initially debuted with a mostly white-male cast, it has been great about expanding the cast as the series went on. With so many types of characters kicking ass in the TV show, I’m hoping that the game will follow suit and introduce a more diverse cast. Developer Scopely has provided constant updates for the game, and fan-favorites Michonne and Lee (from the Telltale series) were added recently, which is a good sign for more varied combatants in the future.
All things considered, I recommend Walking Dead: Road to Survival both for its fun RPG gameplay and its interesting decision-making sections. The base building stuff has never been for me, but if you know you like it then this will be a perfect package.