Zafehouse: Diaries Review
If zombie movies taught me something about the zombie apocalypses it’s that an equal foe to the zombies will be other people. The guy you just rescued from the zombies might kill you a minute later, just to take your gear. You group might be assaulted by bandits, forced into hiding or even slavery. Zombies seems like such a petty problem when you think of all the rivalries people can have among themselves, it seems almost absurd. Shouldn’t there be a feeling of unity? Working together? In theory, yes, in practice? Why should that guy have a gun and me not? Why should she be in charge, when I know better? It all comes down to a truth (not the truth) that people tend to be complete asses. Zombie Survival Games show that, from time to time, but the one example that will sting my mind for a long time is Zafehouse: Diaries.
Zafehouse: Diaries is a Zombie Survival Management Game. Your task is to manage your survival group, composed of five random individuals, and get to da choppah. The problem? You have no idea where or when it lands. To make matters worse, you lost your radio and frequency to reach the chopper on. So, you are stuck in a house with five people who tend to hate each other’s guts, and you have to not only organise them, but survive and gather the necessary scraps of information to escape. Sounds like a bucket of fun, doesn’t it?
Zafehouse: Diaries Review
If you were hoping for fancy 3D graphics you will be disappointed with Zafehouse: Diaries. Is it ugly? Not at all. Of course, some would argue that in terms of “looks” it is as complex as a flash game, but I welcome this graphic layout. Its simple and pleasing to the eyes. Moving around pebbles denoting your survivors on a roughly drawn town map feels climatic. Although there is some music and sounds I do not feel they influence the overall state of the game. They add to it, but it’s not as if the Music has a couple hour soundtrack to keep us going. It’s enough and does the job right (the sounds that is).
Your controls involve the use of your mouse, however there are a number of very handy keyboard shortcuts that help you scroll between different menus and survivors. It can be a bit confusing at times, and even though there is a manual available on-line an up-start gamer might find everything a bit unintuitive. Is the game tough? The controls, once you realise what they are, make it simpler, however the game itself is hard. This is not a walk in the park, and you will often be shocked how a perfectly planned out safehouse is turned into a ruin.
Let us talk about the mechanics a bit. Your survivors each have different traits. These traits influence such things like Combat, Cooking, Medical Care, Searching or Barricading and Upgrading. Aside from these practical traits each character will have a huge Negative Trait, resulting in him or her, for example, not liking a specific Social Class or Gender. So, even though you have a team of qualified survivors you could end up having half the group disliking the other half, because on one end you have the “Poor” and on the other the “Rich”. What is wrong about people disliking each other? At the very least they will scoff at each other, while working. Then, as things escalate, they could get into fights, resulting in crippling injuries. Even worse some individuals might plot against specific members of your group. So, instead of a big family you end up with different cliques of backstabbers. Even though there are zombies banging at their doors you are bound to discover somebody smashed a laptop on somebody else’s head.
This “Social” aspect of the game is the most troublesome (in a good way). A well working group (it is possible to make them work together, trust me on that) will achieve great things, and if you are lucky/experienced enough your entire group might even escape! However, it takes one rotten apple for the entire group to dissolve into chaos. Certain events, and your own management can create bonds between people, which will then create a web. Thanks to this web you can unite your group, but if you neglect this, you might have a big problem winning the game.
Aside from the Social element you also have all the other “tid bits”. Combat, Medical Care, Food, Safehouse building, and so on, and so forth. Firstly let’s talk about Safehouses. You can, in essence, take over and fortify any building you like. Your survivors, can perform different tasks within the building, depending on the available resources. Their effectiveness in specific tasks depends on their available tools and traits. Of course, assigning multiple survivors to the same task should speed things up, but it could cause the opposite, especially if the survivors dislike each other. A Safehouse can be Secured, then Fortified, using furniture available within that specific location. If you feel you need even more protection you can set traps. Once your Safehouse is indeed safe you can perform other actions. For example, hand one of the survivors a Rifle and tell him to clear zombies from surrounding buildings and streets. Order another survivor to produce edible meals. Maybe, if you feel the need to, tell your survivors to purge the area around the Safehouse?