Published on August 29th, 2014 | by Sharang Biswas0
Zombie Supply Trader Review
Ahhh zombies… There’s something charming about the way they shamble, the way they moan, or the way they want to rip out and feast on your viscera that has really…err… bitten the public consciousness, leaving us…um…hungry for more… Puns aside, zombies are everywhere. We make hundreds of movies featuring zombies, rewrite Jane Austen novels about them, and of course, blow them up in video games. As with any oft-used theme, the quality of games about zombies varies greatly. Some are terrific, with rich, involved plotlines. Others have decent gameplay features, but are bogged down by annoying freemium elements. Some are just, plain awful. Rarely, though, have I come across a zombie-game like Zombie Supply Trader, developed by Pennsylvania-based studio DreamTapp Studios, that’s just so…well, dull. I’m neither upset by terrible game mechanics, nor frustrated by poor UI choices nor aggravated by a terrible storyline. I’m just bored.
At first glance, Zombie Supple Trader’s premise is a quirky cross-genre hybrid. While essentially a game about trading goods for the best prices, you play in a post-apocalyptic, undead-infested world, the setting promising its own peculiar challenges to overcome. You travel from shantytown to shantytown, attempting to buy and sell essentials such as food, water and ammo in order to make a profit. The visuals are also well done: the graphics are good, and the art style really brings out the look and feel of the setting, putting me in a decrepit, Western-style environment (I’m a fan of the welcome signs to each town). Sounds neat, right?
Except that after about ten minutes, I was mindlessly bored. It started out well enough: you have a huge bank loan to repay within 30 in-game days (with interest), after which the bank will supposedly send all sorts of nasties your way. So I began with a race-against-time mindset, ready to cheat and scam my way to making a hefty profit and getting rid of my cumbersome debt. Except that there’s no real cheating or scamming. The game literally boils down to little more than repeated exercises in buying low and selling high. Granted, there’s the radio you can check for special alerts about occurrences in different towns, but the alteration in prices these messages point to are so relatively slight they are nearly negligible.
No worries, thought I, random events will keep me busy! But those random events were few and far between. And they amounted to yes or no questions with the possibility of a few extra trade-goods as a reward. I did manage to get into a few zombie fights, but every single time I was about to start fighting, the game crashed. While this bug was extremely irritating, I was willing to give the creators the benefit of the doubt, seeing as they appeared to be promptly responding to bugs reported on Google Play. When I finally managed to get into some of these encounters, they usually amounted to choosing to fight or flee, and if I choose to duke it out, I was gifted with the extra “attack” button and treated to a game of “press the attack button”, while an animation of a zombie approached me.
It’s fine, I thought. I’ll finish this intro mission and things will get interesting. And so, with a small whoop of triumph, I paid back my entire debt in about 15 days (with no in-game fanfare, which was disappointing). And waited for the next mission. Nothing. So I kept playing what was basically a glorified number crunch, hoping that the 30-day mark would yield new goals, or maybe a few kernels of plot. I waited. And kept waiting.
So it looked like I finished the game in about two hours (and that was including the time it took to reboot the game after it crashed on me multiple times). I forced myself to play it over the next few days, with no change in gameplay. Just buy when you see a low number and sell when you see a high one. So what could have been a fun, quirky simulation/trading game with the added relish of zombies, instead ended up feeling more like my high-school economics textbook (and I like Math): easy to fall asleep to and a struggle to continue. So skip the game. Even the most naïve, zombie-infected trader would see that the $1.99 asking price just isn’t worth it.
Is it Hardcore?
Just plain boring.