Zombies in PEI?! Reviewing Unturned

Have you ever wondered how a zombie apocalypse would play out in PEI? Well, the answer you are seeking can be found in Unturned, a free-to-play sandbox survival game based in the Cradle of Confederation. The game offers a single-player mode, though I would highly recommend playing with friends on a hosted server or joining an open server because surviving the zombie apocalypse alone just isn’t as fun.

Zombie hoard at sunset.

Zombie hoard at sunset.

When you start playing, you’ll find your character naked in a random location on the island; then the long journey to find your non-zombie comrades among the undead hordes begins. There are a few elements in this game that help speed up this process. Firstly, there are a number of cars you can find which boost your travel time and have the added bonus of loud engines to alert fellow players of your presence. There are also a number of landmarks that make meeting up a little easier—so far, my group of friends has a good track record for managing to meet up at the aircraft control tower in the zombie-infested airport. Then it’s up to your group to scavenge for supplies: weapons, food, clothes et cetera. These supplies make it possible to create a home base equipped with sleeping bags or cots, which serve as future respawn points if one happens to be eaten by zombies.

Pondering the nature of respawn points.

Pondering the nature of respawn points.

The thing that makes Unturned really special is the attention to little details. For example, the cars you can find will eventually run out of gas, making it imperative to find a gas can and a town with a gas station to refuel.  It is also important to find canteens that can be used at the well so that there is a steady supply of drinking water. Though the graphics of the game are simple, the elements of survival are complicated and involve more forethought than “shoot the zombies”. The zombie killing is still an important aspect of the game, however, both for entertainment and to gain experience so that levels can be put into things such as endurance or marksmanship.

Out for a gas run.

Out for a gas run.

There is also the crafting side of the game that allows you to farm, make bandages using cloth and clothing, and create building supplies to build your own custom safe house. I personally like to be situated near a farm, but being situated near the water to watch the reflection of the moon can offer some poignant moments of philosophizing over the zombie apocalypse.

 

4 zombies out of 5

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-Steph

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It’s You VS Cthulhu, A Review of Elder Signs: Omens

I have a love for cellphone games, board games, and Lovecraft lore, so lucky for me all these things come together in Elder Sign: Omens, an adaptation of the Elder Sign dice game (also a great game) with the feel of a true board game–it’s just much harder to lose the pieces.

To begin each game, you must choose which Lovecraftian boss to go up against, from Azathoth to Yog-Sothoth. Each boss has its own nefarious game mechanic and doom tracker (once that doom tracker is fulfilled, the game is over and the entire world is destroyed through some unspeakable horror). Your job is to play against the game and collect enough elder signs to seal away the Terror before it can be unleased. You do this by clearing the different locations on the map where quests and/or small-time Lovecraftian monsters appear. Sometimes otherworld adventures spring up where places like R’yleh open portals on the map. The only way to seal off these openings is to finish the accompanying quest. By completing these mini-quests, characters are able to collect items, money, and occasionally the extremely useful elder signs.

Boss choice: Hastur

Boss choice: Hastur

Each character has 6 dice, though this number can be bumped to 8 depending on the character’s items. Each monster and quest has a number of symbols attached to it, and you have to match these symbols to the required dice roll to vanquish monsters and complete quests. Sometimes, to successfully defeat a monster, and always when you fail a quest, a character must take a hit to their sanity and/or health. If either of these stats go to zero, the character either dies or is driven mad (and is therefore out of the game). You can play the game with 1-4 characters, so it’s easy to play solo or with friends. Personally, I would recommend playing as 4 characters even if you are playing alone–I find that’s how the game plays best.

Quest-hunting time.

Quest-hunting time.

The triumph of a successful role

The triumph of a successful role.

How difficult the game is depends on the difficulty level of the boss in question, and some are seemingly impossible to beat (I’m looking at you, Ithaqua). The fun of the game comes from how invested in the quests you become; there is nothing that can quite describe the triumph of a perfect roll that allows you to beat a particularly tough quest, or the despair when you can’t roll that one symbol you need. If you are a fan of Lovecraft or a fan of board games, this cellphone game really can’t be passed up. With the expansions and number of characters you can choose from, the replay value is high, and I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to pass time when waiting in a particularly long line.

The game retails for $4.42 on the Google Play store and has three expansion packs: The Call of Cthulhu, The Dark Pharaoh, and The Trail of Ithaqua.  Each expansion comes with new playable characters, new monsters, and a new game mechanic.

Five elder signs out of five.

meeplemeeplemeeplemeeplemeeple

-Steph