In a post apocalyptic world, Deadcraft challenges you to survive as a being that’s part human, part zombie.
You’d think it would be easy, given that you’re partly undead already. But no. You still need to eat and drink regularly, and you don’t have an unlimited supply of energy. To achieve your goal of making it to the city so you can exact your revenge, then, you’re going to have to overcome some challenges. Welcome to Deadcraft.
Cast into the wasteland surrounding the city you’re wishing to get back into the heart of, you start with pretty much nothing in Deadcraft. You do have somewhere to rest, though, and quickly acquire a weapon, too. But to get you to where you want to be, you’re going to have to gear up and get information. A nearby slum is a crucial part of that; it’s somewhere where you’ll make friends, gain quests and prod the locals for intel.
Essentially an action RPG with survival aspects, the gameplay of Deadcraft is viewed from a top-down perspective. Tasked with a range of missions, you’ll find yourself exploring wastelands to not only deal with zombies, but also to farm resources and combat troublesome bandits. Needless to say, you’ll be engaging in a fair bit of combat. And while it never becomes anything more than perfunctory, it does the job.
A range of weapons can be acquired or crafted, and after equipping them you can swing them with the right trigger; multiple presses will even perform a combo. To avoid enemy attacks you have a handy dodge roll, but it’s a bit clunky. It’s thanks to being part zombie that your combat options are expanded, though. By utilising your zombie power you can quickly grow an extended arm to pummel your enemies with, for example, or use it to block.
There are benefits to being a zombie, then, but also pitfalls. An icon on the HUD displays your current humanity level, and you become more or less human depending on the things that you eat and drink and the actions you make. Drink the blood of the zombies you’ve killed, for example, and you quench your thirst a little but also become a little more zombified. That allows you you use your zombie skills, an act that depletes your zombie energy to make you more human.
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Being more zombie-like has the added benefit of making you stronger, allowing you to hit harder with your weapons. But on the flip side, you might scare people in the slums you frequent, forcing them to attack you. And you really don’t want that. You need to carefully balance your humanity level, then. It’s quite helpful being a zombie out in the wastelands as it gives you the edge in combat, but in any civilised area you’ll want to appear more human.
It’s just a shame it’s not the only meter you have to manage, as the survival elements of Deadcraft tend to detract from the experience rather than enhance it. It’s one thing needing to maintain your food and water levels, but also having an energy bar that pretty much determines how much adventuring you can do before needing to rest is a chore. You’ll want to push on with the game’s story, but will frequently have to return to your hut or set up a camp to sleep mid-mission.
Things get better the further you progress – points used by performing actions and completing quests can be used to develop your character, increasing their survival abilities. More importantly, you can unlock crating recipes, too. Ultimately, you’re able to craft more powerful weapons, as well as a range of useful facilities that make your life much easier. You can even grow – that’s right, grow – zombie helpers.
Essentially, the more you put in to Deadcraft, the more you’ll get out of it. And it’s easy to put into it as it’s quirky and charming on the whole. Perhaps the worst thing is how it looks; its visuals are very much on the budget side. But then this is a budget game – you get what you pay for. Although, in fact, you get more than what you pay for here, as it’s a pretty meaty adventure.
If you’re into action RPGs, chances are you’ll get plenty of enjoyment out of Deadcraft. Especially so if you also like survival elements, though for some they’ll get in the way. In any case, there’s much to like here, despite the unimpressive visuals and basic combat. And so, if you feel like stepping into yet another post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies, Deadcraft will meet your needs while also putting a unique spin on things.
Deadcraft Review – GameSpew’s Score