Developed and Distributed by SKS Games
Rated 12+ (Intense Realistic Violence, Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence, Intense Horror/Fear Themes)
Available on iPad and iPad2 (reviewed)
If you love the zombie apocalypse but get tired of the same old zombie games where you blast through hordes of the undead with a seemingly unlimited supply of ammunition with no real point, End Night might be the game you’ve been longing for. SKS’s newest game presents a unique twist on the survival horror genre and many unparalleled gameplay mechanics that are sure to set a foundation for what a zombie game should play like.
End Night doesn’t offer up an epic storyline, but it’s one that is easy to understand and jump into right away. You play as a marine who is trying to save a town that has been overrun by a virus that is turning its citizens into bloodthirsty, walking corpses. The town’s only hope is that the protagonist and his lab partner can come up with a vaccination for the virus by the end of the night. It won’t be an easy task however, as the ingredients needed to complete the vaccine are scattered throughout the undead town.
The game offers up a plethora of nostalgia-inducing classic survival horror gameplay mechanics. There is a strong emphasis on both item management, such as learning when to fight or conserve ammo, and salvaging and looting to find precious in-game items. You are also, for the most part, alone with the lab serving as the only real safe haven in between your search for more parts of the vaccine. This gives you the feeling of isolation that works well with the nighttime setting to create an overall frightening atmosphere. One controversial aspect of the game is in its camerawork. Rather than opting for a standard third or first-person view, End Night presents a more limited view like you’d see in older survival horror games. Some people will view this as a nice touch that provides more startling moments, while others will see is as simply sloppy and lazy game design.
End Night also features some RPG elements. When you begin the game, you’ll choose from one of three starting weapons: pistol, shotgun or fireaxe. This really feels more like the choosing of an initial class for your character, and once you’ve attained enough experience points, you can level up and unlock new upgrades and abilities that will eventually turn you into a zombie killing machine.
One interesting new feature in the game is your need to stay clean throughout the game. Obviously, you are not immune to the virus, and running around covered in zombie blood cannot be good for your health. The virus will slowly seep into your system if you leave open wounds and scrapes untreated, so you’ll have to find a safe bathroom in order to clean the toxic blood from your body. Just make sure there are no infected nearby while doing this; bathrooms are not saferooms!
The other cool aspect of the game is how your character actually feels remorse for having to kill zombies. The infected townsfolk were once human, and going on such a killing spree would obviously weigh heavy on your character’s mind. You could try not to kill any infected, but it is unavoidable in certain situations. You are presented with two options when the guilt starts becoming too much: either take to religion and repent with bibles or wash away all of your feelings with booze. It’s your call.
The town in End Night allows for open-world, sandbox type gameplay. The missions in the game will change somewhat which each playthrough, so you’re never experiencing the exact same game twice. Once you’ve completed the game, you unlock the nightmare difficulty mode. These things, along with the ability to retain your experience points when playing a new game, will keep you coming back for more time with the game again and again.
End Night does try to pump out the prettiest graphics or push the systems’ hardware to it’s limits. Instead, it presents a fun story with lots of heart-stopping gameplay and some innovative gameplay mechanics that are sure to be used in many other games in the future. Essentially, End Night is a must play for any true survival horror fan.
End Night was released on February 9, 2012 for iPad and iPad 2. For more information, check out the official End Night website.
4 out of 5