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Survivor Squad a Linux, Mac, and Windows Game Review

It seems you can’t turn anywhere in pop culture, without running into #zombies. Whether it’s in movies, tv shows, mainstream #gaming or# indie titles, the groaning dead are everywhere.

My other foray into the tactical top down gaming field this week was Survivor Squad. This taps into the ever-popular zombie survival genre, by giving you a small team of survivors, trying to make your way through an uncaring world of pixel-art and lurking death.

Things move at a much quicker pace, and while care has to be taken, there’s far less planning going on.

What you do get here is the survival experience. As you undertake missions, you are constantly scavenging for new supplies, which can be either be used directly, such as fuel and bandages, or can be used to construct new weapons and tools. There is a pleasant reward sequence from clearing out a building full of rampaging monsters, to getting the “all clear” and starting to rummage through the remains to see what useful items you find.

Of course, nothing is every simple, in a monster-haunted wasteland, and your carrying capacity is extremely limit, reminiscent of a Resident Evil game. Hence, you are constantly prioritizing between what items to leave and what to bring along. More scrap metal can be used to build weapons, but we also need fuel to reach a new destination, and maybe we should keep some extra bandages on hand, in case the bad guys get a jump on us.

In a game that seems very small, those decisions become large, because you are constantly up against a scarcity of resources, and it directly conflicts with our instincts to hoard everything that isn’t nailed down.

This also helps underscore the feeling of desperation, and forces the player to make choices about what they do, which helps make you feel more invested in the game. Since the combat is relatively simple (Click on a bad guy, and your squad will do their best to kill them), the overarching campaign management aspect is what will make you invested in the game as a whole.

Graphically, the game is definitely on the simpler side. The style reminds me a lot of Teleglitch, though more defined. Some people enjoy this “simple” style of visuals, while others find it more difficult to deal with.
Personally, I found the game very atmospheric, partly through good sound work, but for some, the lack of visual flair might irritate. Elements in the game were mostly clear and easy to pick out, though items dropped on the ground get a little hard to notice.

One thing that did stand out is that when you’re walking around outside, you’re essentially looking at a mostly black screen, apart from the small range of your flashlights. This certainly makes the game feel more tense, but it also means it is slightly dull to look at.

Is this for you? If you like zombies, and indie games, you could do worse than checking it out. If you like things that smell a little bit like a tactical RPG, you might also get a kick out of it.

Hardcore action gamers may feel underwhelmed by what’s here: While the game certainly moves fast, the action never feels as direct and visceral as it would in a first person shooter, and the long-bearded tactical master minds will likely feel the title comes up a little short.

It currently retails for $8.99 USD through Steam.

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