2d retro survival horror? Yes, yes, yes, yes. Silent Hill makers get a 9.99 run for their money.
Right off the bat LS has a demo out there, so you should give that a couple minutes to see if you can handle the retro graphics.
Not for you? Move on.
Pixel lover? Let's dig in.
LS takes quite a few cues from other survival games, like an auto updating mapping system and flashlight that needs new batteries constantly, but really the game remains largely unique. You play as a young man set in a town filled with zombies caused by disease. The game starts very quickly with little explanation and leaves the player to fill in what is going on, who you are, and how to really survive.
It becomes very clear very quickly that your character might not exactly be in his right mind, a large part of the story and vibe of the game is a psychological one, but this review is not going to expand on this because its best left for the game itself.
The biggest chunk of surviving the game is managing your food and sleep levels, which might not sound fun, but its so key to the game in multiple ways that its inescapable. The character will let you know maybe a little too often how you are feeling, tired or hungry.
You will need to find and cook, or combine food in different ways to keep yourself going. It takes some trial and error... is this bottle of milk still good? Whats more filling these crackers or a squid on a stick?
The more important question comes in while exploring and being harassed by critters that want to spit infected blood on you, or strangle the life from your body.
Should I push on, do I have enough food, am I well rested? Should I return now or risk it and explore a little more.
Thus the game follows a good pattern of exploration, and retreat, each day you'll either need to hoof it or use teleporting mirrors to return back to your apartment to rest and save before heading back into the mirror and continuing.
As you explore you'll find lots and lots of things a flashlight, a weapon, a cat, coffee, a ham, a source of water, fuel for your stove. Also you'll unlock several shortcuts and even pseudo vendors to allow you to get a helpful boost if you need more ammo or pills or rotten meat.
In several areas you'll need to use the flashlight to be able to interact with something in the darkness but the light will increase your visibility to the games creepy monsters, also the flashlight has limited energy and you have limited batteries.
Many monsters are near spots that allow you to sneak around them, but your character isn't a complete wimp and its not too hard to kill them off, if carefully watching your supplies and planning your attacks.
The controls work well, and are responsive but might take a bit of getting used to as you can only attack to one side at a time, and walk much slower while trying to do so, needing to lower your weapon before turning and re-raising it. Other than that the game is very minimalistic, a few hotkeys, movement keys, interact key, inventory key.
A real treat in LS is the sound that immerses you and gives you clues about your character's state of mind and health. Monster noises are creepy and while there is no real voice work, this is a retro-style game after all.
All in all Lone Survivor is a wonderful exercise in a lot of things, retro graphics, minimalistic controls, sound, creepiness, and of course survival mechanics. At 9.99 it's a steal for hours of enjoyment over many other games of lesser quality at many times the price... it might even keep you up at night.