Dead On

User Rating: 8.5 | The Walking Dead: Assault IOS
The Telltale Walking Dead games have been a wonderful addition to the franchise, but one thing they've been missing are the main characters from the comics/show we have grown so attached to. Walking Dead Assault is definitely an abbreviated companion, but it's still another very well thought-out game fans will enjoy.

Walking Dead Assault (WDA) is a simplified RTS that allows you to bring up to four party members with you into each mission. You'll begin the adventure as Rick, making your escape from the hospital where the story ultimately begins. You'll collect ammo and supplies along the way, as well as unlock new characters as you complete chapters. Supplies are used to purchase unlocked characters, but you'll also use supplies as currency to upgrade four stats that affect damage, health, ammo capacity, and the cool-down timers for special abilities. It's an excellent progression system that caters perfectly to fans' appreciation of all things Walking Dead.

The game is played from a top-down perspective, and movement of individual party members is done by double-tapping an area of the screen. You can slide around the camera with your finger and tap and hold a particular area of the screen to have all party members move in unison. Characters each have ranged and melee weapons and attack automatically anytime enemies are nearby.

Sounds simple, and for the most part it is, but WDA throws in some cool mechanics that keep the game from ever feeling overly repetitive. Using guns, of course, makes noise, and if your noise meter fills up, you'll alert herds of walkers that can make for some seriously hairy situations. And though you can control the party as one easy mob, you'll still be required to do some micro-managing, lest party members get overrun by groups of enemies.

Each character has a special ability that can only be used in spurts – ranging from healing the entire party, to adding additional accuracy to attacks – but party members also each have unique, passive abilities that increase range, speed, etc. It's a lot of fun mixing and matching the group, and it's actually quite necessary in order to successfully complete the bonus objectives present in each chapter.

Almost all missions task you with killing all walkers, but you'll need to complete those bonus objectives in order to nab most of the game's unlockables. There are some real treats, too, such as extra supplies, art work, cool bits of trivia surrounding the writers and story, and of course, achievements and high scores. The game will automatically place the name and best completion time over each mission for you and any of your Game Center friends who also have the game on their device. It's a cool, built-in competitive aspect that offers yet another incentive to repeat missions; you can earn supplies from repeat visits as well.

It doesn't hurt, either, that the game looks great. It's fashioned after the comic art, with only hints of color for dramatic effect. Comic-book captions pop up mid-mission, alerting you to horde activity or the concerns of party members. Unfortunately, there's no real dialogue or story progression other than the locales that are played out as you make your way through the game. Still, the sound and music are excellent, and the entire presentation is a complete treat for any Walking Dead fan.

Walking Dead Assault isn't a deep RTS, but it is one of the best on the iOS platform. The controls make great sense, and the micro-managing that is necessary isn't frustrating. The mechanics are kept simple, yet there are some fun and interesting gameplay devices that make it more than a mindless-zombie-kill fest. Additional chapters are on the way via DLC, and for the asking price, this is definitely a valuable addition to any Walking Dead fan's collection.