The Walking Dead has made its much anticipated return last Sunday. Without spoiling the smashing opening episode too much, it is safe to say that some new or undecided viewers are likely to have been reeled back into Robert Kirman’s post apocalyptic world. Heading into its seventh year on AMC, The Walking Dead’s footprint has grown exponentially and also left its mark on Apple’s iTunes and App Store.
Assuming you too are back on board for Season 7, there are easily a dozen Walker-friendly apps on the App Store to help rekindle your passion for the Drama. But in a sea of official, unofficial, paid and free apps, where to start? We have taken the time to work over all of them and highlight the top 5 apps you may want to try to get hyped up for the new season.
Before diving into the curation below, remember that this list is both subjective and selective: if you do not want to take my word for it, I encourage you to try some of the apps omitted at my discretion or drop your veto in the comments below. The discussion will explicitly mention some of the apps not featured in the list to make finding them easier for you. With that out of the way, here’s 5 iOS experiences worth your time:
The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land
Next Game’s officially licensed take on The Walking Dead was released in late 2015 and has enjoyed thorough maintenance in form of updates ever since. All new Season 7 related missions are just in, which is a nice bonus, but the actual longevity and gameplay offered by the game is what makes me believe you might take a liking to it. Next Game describes the result of their work as a mix of action and world building, which is an interesting premise that will likely see you return to your camp of survivors regularly to expand it, harvest your crops or defend the camp from Zombie hordes.
Aside from the world building element, which by the way can unfold pretty well without the unpopular help of in-app purchases, the graphics (including rendered scenes) and intricacies of the combat system are convincing enough to keep going for the story missions: the narrative is divided into chapters, which by themselves consist of multiple levels that need to be played in order to progress the story. In each level, you are manoeuvring a group of three survivors (which can be shuffled and trained) through a Zombie infested setting. The combat is turn-based, which at first appears to take the fun out of it, but will grow on you when the scenarios become more challenging. Your characters will be able to pick up stronger equipment along the way and, in the face of growing Zombie numbers, the turn-based scheme will suddenly require you to be smart about completing the scenarios. Progression is rewarded with new survivors for your home and props (Gas, Supplies, XP, Gold) to beef up your camp and soldiers.
As mentioned, the game animations are neat and sound bites include the original character voices of the TV show. The App pretty much competes directly with another game of a very similar premise, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival by Scopely. I for one preferred the look and feel of No Man’s Land, mostly since the combat system felt a little less linear. Road to Survival presents itself more akin to the Comics and draws praise on iTunes as well. You don’t have to agree with my personal preference, however I would recommend picking only one out of the two for their similarities.
The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land is available in the App Store for free on iPhone and iPad.
Walking Dead: The Game – Season 1 and Season 2
This one needs little introduction. The first iteration of Telltale Inc.’s riveting and award winning Walking Dead game was released in 2012 and followed up by Season 2 in late 2013. They are both absolute must plays, not only for Zombie fans but more generally speaking for people who like captivating story telling and games that force you to make immediate decisions that will lastingly impact the way a story plays out.
The games have been popular enough to be ported to all major gaming platforms including PC and Mac. The only drawback here is that when not on special offer, you will have to pony up $14.99 to purchase Episodes 2-5, which you will probably feel tempted to after getting a taste of the intensity of this game. On the upside, the full season pass will keep you on your toes for about 13 hours game time on average – which is respectable and 13 hours well invested.
The second season of the game is in no way inferior to the first. It picks up right where season 1 left off. In-app purchases come in at the same price point for Episodes 2-5 and the game time clocks similar numbers as well. One piece of advice I would give is to in any event start with the original season, even if you do not plan to spend money on the successor in the first place. On starting the second season, your device will scan for any saved data from the first round and actually determine how the season kicks off, again based on previous decisions made. Skipping the first season will hence result in a randomised beginning, which is less personal and damaging to the suspension of disbelief this game thrives on.
Telltale Inc. dropped another addition earlier this year in The Walking Dead: Michonne. It will cost you a third of the full season 1 or 2 packages at $4.99 and promises – you guessed it – about a third of the game time.
The Walking Dead (Reader)
iTunes abounds in zombie-genre games, and we will get back to those soon enough. That said, to break that common thread for a short while, Skybound’s official TWD reader is a beautiful gateway for anyone liking or wanting to like Kirkman’s graphic novels. Yes you can find most comics on iBooks, nonetheless The Walking Dead app boasts features an iBook experience will not be able to measure up to. Two aspects I want to briefly touch on: the database and reading immersion. The portfolio of issues, books, compendiums et cetera is vast and (comic fans correct me if I’m wrong) leaves nothing to be desired.
Secondly, the app offers a nifty little function called Guided View, which I found made for a more immersive reading experience, simply by scaling each single window on a page to full screen and moving to the next drawing on a tap. It’s a simple trick but taking in one image at a time instead of staring at a full, often cluttered page made a huge difference to me. Guided View even lets you set the transition speed, ensuring you are comfortable with the camera movements.
The Walking Dead (Reader) is available in the App Store for free on iPhone and iPad.
The Walking Dead: Assault
Skybound has not only graced fans with the reader, but also with this doozy of a game. TWD: Assault is one of the older, less shiny titles that might fly under the radar if you don’t start browsing down the App Store list. To add insult to injury, it is locked behind a $2.99 high paywall. Despite that, I would strongly suggest to not let it discourage you. TWD: Assault is fast paced and at times chaotic, but it’s always fun. It dons a unique Frank Miller-esque look (think Sin City) and fairly straight forward gameplay: You get to assemble your (growing) team of officially licensed heroes, each equipped with different special moves, perks and stats, and full throttle shoot your way through the maps. Your characters will pull the triggers automatically when approached, so the crux of the game is to complete your objectives safely and fast through delegating the players from a bird’s-eye view.
What’s engaging about the process is creating your ultimate team of fighters and learning to deploy characters that both complement each other’s strengths but also compensate for each other’s weaknesses. You will also refine your strategies as to when you are better off going for the Melee weapon than the big guns. One might be faster than the other, however it could also draw unwanted attention from Walkers. Overall this is a really well-rounded and balanced experience. It plays like a mature game that Skybound put a lot of work and thought into. On top of that, it includes many excerpts and drawings from the comic books – potentially warming you up to the original renditions of the characters. If you feel curious about the comics after playing this, it might be time to revisit the TWD Reader recommendation above.
Because of its unique angle, there is no other Walking Dead app to pit this against. If you’re interested in learning more, try Youtube for plenty of gameplay videos of TWD: Assault.
The Walking Dead: Assault is available in the App Store for $2.99 on iPhone and iPad.
Nuts For Trivia – TWD Reanimated Dead Quiz
What’s the point of The Walking Dead fandom if you don’t have a trivia app to resort to? The final app to include was the hardest in many respects, but mostly due to the fact that the App Store is teeming with (mostly fan made) quizzes. To give you an idea of what I looked at: Dead Trivia – TWD Fan Edition, Dead Trivia Quiz, TWD Guess Quiz and Magic Quiz Game for TWD will all also compete for your attention, but to be completely frank with none of them I felt the urge to open them more than once. What irked me the most – and that is contrary to Nuts For Trivia – was either a silly coin system intimating in-app purchases to be able to keep going, or the blandness of quizzes solely revolving around naming and spelling the show’s characters (I’m looking at you, TWD Guess Quiz).
Nuts for Trivia does not commit atrocities like the above. Instead, it will even nicely ask you for the seasons you want to be tested in, again unlike most of the other apps. With all that said, on no account does that mean that Nuts for Trivia is perfect. It’s far from that in fact, and that is courtesy of a very limited questions database. You will enjoy playing each season about twice, after that the questions will begin to look familiar. This is admittedly pretty weak, but it’s a solid app to kill 15 minutes of your time, and it is sans pesky in-app purchases or intrusive ads. Besides, the app is still being updated regularly and new questions have been promised to arrive soon.
Nuts for Trivia is available in the App Store for free on iPhone and iPad.
If you have any other favorite Walking Dead items or comments on the assortment, let us know!