The other side of the apocalypse
Neither zombie games nor card battle games are strangers to mobile. The two genres have even managed to cross paths in the past. Now, mobile game company GREE International is working on Beyond the Dead, a free-to-play game that looks to take some elements of card battles, zombie games, and traditional social games, and combine them in one big post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The first title coming out of GREE’s new Vancouver studio, Beyond the Dead looks to offer something for everyone. Speaking with the developers, the early launch of the game is going to ship with an extensive array of single player modes, as well as a more toned-down approach at multiplayer battles. During our hands-on session, multiplayer was limited to a screen showing portraits of each player’s team of five characters, and then showing which player won the battle. There wasn’t much to look at as far as the battles were concerned, but we’ve been told the plan is to roll out more depth after release.
Outside battle, Beyond the Dead will feature a combination of elements seen in other card and social games. The home base system is reminiscent of most traditional social games, allowing players to set up and arrange various buildings and structures. Most of the buildings will simply serve to power up the team and utilize farming mechanics. There’s currently not much in the way for offensive structures, either.
Customization and exploration are the two areas the team seemed most proud about. At launch, there will be over one hundred unique characters, each with his or her own background story. All of these characters will be obtainable by purchasing random packs from the in-game store or by defeating enemies. That number feels even higher through evolution. When players possess duplicates of a character, they can fuse them, which raises the stats and changes the weapons of one of the copies.
Exploration looks to be one of the biggest sticking points with Beyond the Dead‘s single player. After setting up the home base, players will be able to take on hundreds of quests and visit 24 locations, ranging from scenes like downtown of a city to a zombie-infested carnival. Using a traditional energy system, players will be able to attack zombies with their team, search buildings for goods, and destroy buildings to collect any loot. Each location is filled with zombies wearing HAZMAT suits, scrubs, and clown garb.
Outside of GREE’s efforts for a deep storyline and a growing multiplayer mode, Beyond the Dead still aims to be familiar enough to players of all experience levels. Both premium and standard currencies are present, while alliances aim to help drive activity in multiplayer. GREE has regularly-scheduled events already planned, as well as leaderboards.
There are not a lot of zombie games that seem terribly original these days. That said, GREE’s efforts in the post-apocalyptic wasteland appear to be as strong as anyone’s. The amount of effort they’re putting into the single player and the promise of more features in later updates make this one worth watching. When asked about a release date, we were told “Just in time for Halloween.” Beyond the Dead will launch on iOS later this month, though the developers were open to an Android port if the game is well-received.