REVIEW: The Keep: Zombie Horde

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?

The Keep - Screen

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.

The Keep - Screen2

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.

11 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Keep: Zombie Horde”

  1. Hmmm… Heres an idea: Dinosaurs.
    Co op split and online.
    See, it isn’t zombies.
    This whole zombie wave shooter genre is really getting old.
    Zombie this
    Zombie that
    Zombie this 2
    Zombie it trying to be Zombie that
    Blah blah blah.
    Variety, bring us dinos please!

  2. I have a feeling your Aliens vs Romans review is going to look alot like this one. It’s not a bad game, but it doesn’t do anything that different than the last 5 games these guys have put out. It’s obvious they have talent, but they don’t seem to have a desire or they are afraid to try anything new. It’s only a dollar though ya’know?

    1. I’ve only had limited time with A vs. R so far, but it does have that all-too-familiar feeling. I do appreciate how it tries to disguise that by changing up the waves with objectives and / or adding a new weapon to the mix. The review -should be- mostly favorable, unless there’s something deeper in that I haven’t come across yet. And you’re right; it’s only a buck. I’m sure it’ll sell well for them.

    1. Absolutely. I do applaud indie developers pooling their talent and knowledge. Didn’t quite work out here, but I hope that’s something I continue to see moving forward.

  3. I don’t know what to expect from AvR, but this game certainly wasn’t a worthwhile bridge to it. I’m sure this game has a target audience (just like the other 500 zombie wave shooters on XBLIG) and it attempts a different approach to it with the elevated view instead of ground mobility, but it just ends up boring. I guess there is some credit to be gained for making a game that is exactly what it seems to be – a wave shooter – but the trial is about all that is needed to determine if the game is worth it or not. For me, it is not.

    1. I agree. I’ve started to lean more on that stance as well. Competence isn’t enough anymore. Indies should be held to the same standard as big budget games; if you’re going to release the same reheated stuff that’s been done and seen a hundred times, why bother? If it’s the same type of game, or zombies, fine, but do something with it. Say something new, change the format, make it unique. This game wore out its welcome by the third wave.

  4. Right from the get go of reading this review it almost felt like your had a “ho hum” attitude about it. And at the end, you didn’t deviate from that one bit and came right out and said so. Almost written as if you were letting the developers know that you (and I want them to know there are others like me) are waiting for AVR on pins and needles. I sure hope that I’m not expecting more than what they can deliver.

    1. My gut tells me A vs. R will be good. It looks fast and responsive, and loads more interesting than EoD: Survivor and now The Keep. Longevity is another matter, but I’m hopeful.

      The Keep is an odd move to release now, with A Vs R supposedly seeing release before the end of the month. I’m not sure if it was Sick Kreations or the co-developer (another assumption) GWI Games, that did most of the work, but it seems counterproductive to put the time into subpar stuff like this while talking up A Vs. R. I think most people would be inclined to wait the few extra days for it than spend a buck on another zombie wave shooter (man, I feel like I’ve written that phrase far too many times). But hey, it’s just an opinion. Others may feel different.

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