Pixelated Zombie Adventure
A lone human fights against mutated undead in Idle Wasteland: Zombie Survival from Iron Horse Games. The nameless wanderer is armed only with an iron pipe as he traverses a lone road filled with horrors. Giant rats and two-headed snakes are just some of the creatures the survivor will face in the apocalyptic world. Fighting non-human enemies is rather refreshing. It’s nice to see there’s room for creativity in a market oversaturated with zombie games.
The gameplay is straightforward and helpfully laid out by Happy the Tutorial Drone. He shows you where everything is, from inventory to rewards. There’s a lot more for the survivor to do in Idle Wasteland than in typical apocalyptic media. He has five skills: Strength, Salvaging, Crafting, Biomagic, and Hunter. These skills level up in different ways. For example, you tap piles of scrap on both sides of the road to gain Salvaging XP. The player can then use the scrap to craft items like nuts and bolts to earn Crafting XP. The higher the skill level, the more powerful the survivor is against the undead. He attacks on his own after a yellow attack bar fills up during a fight. Rapid tapping can make it fill up faster and have him attack more often. It freezes when the survivor is walking and when he’s stunned by an enemy.
He also has a green mana bar to represent his store of Biomagic, fueled by nuclear waste. The bar is full at the start and casting spells depletes it. Spells range from ten to 18 mana and possibly more, as spellcasting increases Biomagic XP and unlocks more spells. Unlocked spells can be found in the spell book, accessible with a single tap. Types of spells include enhancing attack speed by 15% and crit chance by 10%.
Rewards & Consumables
Once an enemy is defeated, they drop rewards like currency and boosters. Idle Wasteland takes a page from the Fallout series with its currency but uses pop tabs instead of bottle caps. The player spends these pop tabs on upgrading the survivor. This includes things like boosts to attack speed and damage. Another way to earn currency is by tapping the nuclear flies that sometimes fly around the screen. Doing so also increases the Hunter skill. When it comes to boosters, there’s a wide variety to choose from. Some help in battle, like the Mouldy Muffin, which increases max damage by five. Others assist with collecting items, such as the Scrap Magnet, which automatically gathers scrap piles. The player can earn boosters by defeating enemies and by completing tasks and achievements.
The player can view tasks by tapping the exclamation point near the top of the screen. These range from killing a certain number of enemies to casting a certain number of spells. Rewards differ from task to task. Achievements are similar but involve bigger numbers, such as crafting 25 materials and catching 40 creatures, i.e., the flies. The player is rewarded with Nuclear Material, which is spent on upgrades and bonuses. An example is the Magnetic Mittens, able to deplete scrap piles with a single tap, costing 100 units of Nuclear Material. While there’s quite a bit to do in Idle Wasteland, there are a few minor hiccups to address.
First off, the survivor walks along a never-ending straight path the entire time. I know this is an idle game, but a road with no variety is rather boring. Plus, skills level up at very uneven rates. It feels like Strength increases every few minutes while Crafting takes forever. That’ll make quite a few gamers rather frustrated.
Idle Wasteland: Zombie Survival is a pixelated adventure worth undertaking. The survivor continuously walks a boring straight line, and his skills are always uneven, but don’t let that deter you. Fighting different monsters, using consumables, casting spells and crafting items are all primed to keep the player excited and invested.
Is it Hardcore?
Not for the competitive player as there’s only one road and a tad unfair skill leveling system. But there’s enough content available to keep casual gamers entertained.