Player versus Zombie: Round 4
707 Interactive brings us another installment in the Endless Nightmare series placing players in a maximum security prison filled with zombies. Previous versions of the game placed the player at home, in a hospital and in an Egyptian shrine. Endless Nightmare 4: Prison sees players take on the role of a former soldier on death row. Accused of crimes he didn’t commit, our protagonist’s execution goes awry and the player is left to help him escape a prison filled with the undead.
A Serviceable Story
Those not familiar with the range of mobile games might assume they are simple, mind-numbing adventures meant to help pass the time. However, Endless Nightmare 4 proves mobile games have the potential to be much more.
The game begins with a prologue providing the backstory of our main character. We learn the story takes place during the pandemic, and our protagonist has lost his wife and daughter. Additionally, he has lost a brother-in-arms due to suicide. The hopeful intent of this prologue seems to be to add stakes to our main character’s plight.
I applaud the efforts of 707 Interactive for their attempt to create character depth. However, the robotic line reads flatten their tone and leaves the character feeling empty. This continues as our protagonist is escorted to his execution. Moreover, there is little more to the story than this initial introduction.
As I made my escape from the prison, there were no additional cutscenes. Instead, I found notes and newspaper clippings that filled me in on the events of the zombie takeover as opposed to the story of the playable character. It wasn’t until the end of the game that another cutscene played to fill in more of the protagonist’s story. I was excited by the prologue but quickly learned it wasn’t anything more than a means to set up the game’s setting. It didn’t add any depth to the protagonist.
Going through the Motions
Much like the story, the gameplay for Endless Nightmare 4: Prison is serviceable. There is a game to be played, but it feels humdrum. There is the usual tutorial we see in most games teaching the player to crouch, dodge and swing a hammer. These are fairly basic in games. However, the tutorial seemed never-ending to the point of annoyance. Every time I picked up an item or found a note, I was prompted with another message. This wouldn’t have been so annoying had any of the messages added to the game. Rather, they were a means to make the game seem bigger than it is, include advertisements and microtransactions.
Once I defeated the tutorial and started playing the game proper, I thought things would pick up. The problem quickly became how empty the map felt. Sure, there are notes and newspaper clippings to pick up along with minimal ammo to find, but I don’t believe I came across more than two or three zombies at a time. More often than not, I was fighting the same three zombie types one-on-one. This may have felt challenging given that ammo found in the environment is limited, but the player can construct their own. I never found myself wanting for ammo.
The real challenge didn’t come until the final boss fight, and even then, once I learned the gimmick, I was able to take down the final boss with ease.
The Final Word
Endless Nightmare 4: Prison is a serviceable game that shows us the potential of mobile games without delivering anything sensational. The graphics are fine, the story serves its purpose and the gameplay is good enough to be called a game. This isn’t the type of adventure that is going to blow you away or cause you to rush to play its predecessors. If you like horror games and need a way to pass a few hours, I suggest giving this one a try. However, if you’re looking for something epic, this may not be the game for you. Regardless of the potential I saw in the game, Endless Nightmare 4’s barebones and uninventive gameplay left me wanting more.
Is It Hardcore?
Endless Nightmare 4: Prison has a lot of potential but doesn’t provide anything of substance for gamers to latch on to. It’s a decent game that doesn’t suck the player in so much as force them through the motions.