I have to think by now Sick Kreations is gaslighting us all. I’ve run two different articles previewing the gorgeous Aliens Vs. Romans, certain it’s the next release from the studio (hell, there’s even a fresh trailer for the game), only to be shown I’m full of it. First, there was the unnecessary End of Days-themed zombie shooter, and now that’s been followed by yet another wave shooter featuring undead, The Keep: Zombie Horde (80 MSP). This one seems to be co-developed, but… I’m audibly sighing right now. One of these days, A vs. R, I swear I’ll see you. I mean, the trailer says April. It has to happen, right?
Back on topic, though, The Keep follows the well-tread wave sho— such-and-such (I’m tired of writing it out), route with almost no deviation. You’re a guy (part of the Citizen Protection Force, short for ‘because you need the work’), shooting zombies and protecting civilians flocking to your ‘castle’, presumably the last safe haven. You earn money based on how many of those people survive, which you then spend on guns (standard assortment, including RPGs and grenades) and ammunition during the interlude between jobs. Every other wave, you’ll get a bonus stage where you’ll take control of a machine gun and mow down the brain-dead multitudes. The more undead you take down here, the more survivors you’ll have the chance to save next round.
Though much like End of Days: Survivor, The Keep believes you can’t have too much of a good thing (i.e. zombies), and it’s wrong. The game adopts and doctors the seventh rule of Fight Club for itself; waves will go on as long as they have to, which is probably much longer than you’ll want (I am Jack’s irrepressible boredom). If a steady rotation of 5+ minute rounds, spent locked in a box picking off zombies, listening to the same artificially-tense music clip on a loop sounds like fun to you, then you’re The Keep’s target audience, and extremely easy to please.
Mo’ survivors means mo’ money means longer waves means mo’ problems.
Even the handgun, the quintessential starting gun for virtually every shooter, is nerfed for The Keep. Rather than supply you with unlimited rounds, as most games do, you’ll have to ration shots and purchase ammo after each wave. Problem is, with the waves lasting so long in between those store visits, you can find yourself shooting blanks if you’re not a shrewd planner. It’s easier said, but do keep plenty of bullets in reserve. For the bigger guns, too, expect to pay even more for the ammo. The game leaves you an out— a knife for melee attacks, but again, you probably don’t want to spend several minutes waiting for, and stabbing, every zombie that clambers up your castle wall.
I hate to be the bearer of bad reviews, but once again, the developer(s) has(have) released a competent but entirely unnecessary wave shooter with The Keep, one with almost no reason to spend meaningful time with, other than to test fire all the guns just to say you did. Not a terrible game, but let’s hope that the studio’s schedule between now and Aliens Vs. Romans is completely clear.