Game Reviews

The Walking Dead: No Man's Land - Keep calm, and call Daryl

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The Walking Dead: No Man's Land - Keep calm, and call Daryl
Why is your phone making the noises that I make when I get out of bed at 6am on a Monday?

Oh that'd be all the zomb- sorry, "Walkers." I've been playing Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, and that right there is the sound of a herd of undead creeping closer. It's a free to play, turn-based action strategy game where you've got to guide small groups of survivors through big groups of walkers and make it to the exit.

Yet another zombie game? No thanks

Yeah, yeah I know, there's enough zombie games on the App Store to start a whole new herd of its own. But this one is based on the same TV show that pulls in millions of viewers each week to follow the plight of Rick Grimes and his band of not-so-merry-survivors.

Wait, THE Walking Dead? So is Rick actually in it?

Well, no, but Daryl is. That's all that really matters right? The whole thing kicks off with you sat in a crate in Terminus (massive spoilers from season 5 by the way). Daryl breaks you and two others out, and after escaping you set up a new camp. As the new leader, you run missions out into the wilderness that are organised into a sort of linear narrative that parallels the TV show.

You have piqued my interest. But what about the zom- I mean, walkers?

Glad you asked. So they're at the centre of the game. During missions you can have a wall of walkers between you and the exit, so you’ve got to be tactical. Each survivor has two action points. Walking around the map will spend one, while attacking a walker will spend both.

Once you’ve moved all your survivors the walkers will either attack or move closer. If you've played XCOM, you'll be familiar with the control system.

There's also a timer at the bottom of the screen that counts down to a new herd of walkers arriving. If you take too many turns, the map will get flooded with nasty bite-y dead people. This isn't about clearing the map, but getting to the other side as quickly as possible.

Got it, but the TV show is about character relationships too

Yes, and that's probably the biggest flaw of the game. You can get more survivors for your group by finding radios, but they don’t really have a lot of character. Plus they're all called Jeff, or Ken, or Wendy.

Saying that, there is a base camp. Here you can equip your survivors with new gear, train them up to better bash walker skulls in, and spend gold on healing them up.

You mentioned it's free to play - anything I should know about?

A few things - at the end of every mission can open three out of nine boxes of loot. You can buy three extra boxes with in-game currency or watch a video for the same.

There's also an energy mechanic that means you can only fail five missions before being locked out. It's pretty hard to fail that many times though.

Ok, I think I've got it.

The only other thing I'd mention is how brilliantly it captures the flavour of the TV show. It’s rare for mobile games to have genuinely great soundtracks, and No Man’s Land blends the iconic Walking Dead theme song with subtly creepy melodies to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

Throw in some pretty swish graphics, lovely animations and blood splatters, and you have one of the most carefully fleshed out zombie games we've seen on mobile. It looks lovely, and plays great too.

So you'd recommend it?

I would. If you’re a Walking Dead fan it's a must-play. If you're new to the franchise, it's still a solid introduction to the series and a good strategy game in its own right. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a horde of undead to make more dead.

The Walking Dead: No Man's Land - Keep calm, and call Daryl

A great companion to the Walking Dead series that combines fun gameplay with satisfying cast cameo appearances
Alysia Judge
Alysia Judge
After spending months persuading her parents that it's a valuable career path, Alysia is still not bored with writing about games. That's a good thing really, since skills like spaceship navigation and zombie slaying are pretty much non-transferable.