REVIEW: Zombie Outback

One thing that fiction has proved (ignore the silliness of that phrase), beyond a doubt, is that nowhere is safe from the march of walking death. This includes land, sea, space(!), and now, inland Australia. Zombie Outback (80 MSP) conjures thoughts of a Mad Max-style open world starring the undead and a pre-nutjob Mel Gibson (Oh the possibilities!). The reality isn’t nearly as promising.

Zombie Outback - Screen

It’s just your typical first-person zombie slayer (at least I don’t have to type out ‘wave shooter’), plopping you in the middle of town at night (without directions or so much as a single word of exposition, mind you), with the same recycled shamblers coming at you from all sides. The one saving grace of the game is its weapons, automatic from the start and blessed with unlimited ammo / never having to reload. Your HUD shows a health bar and an XP counter, counting up to… something. There’s no RPG-style progression or unlocks, so it functions simply as a score keeper, even though your score isn’t permanently recorded or otherwise acknowledged before, during, or after playing. Hmm.

The open world aspect of Zombie Outback is intriguing, though it’s a shame it’s not used to better effect. While there is a surprising amount of ground to cover, buildings are vacant, lifeless obstacles, there only to populate the world with its matter and take up space. With nothing to find / see, exploration and wonder are completely stripped away. Save to put some room between you and a crowd of walkers (they have trouble navigating corners, doors, and stairs), there’s no reason to even bother with sightseeing.

That sentiment carries over to the rural side of the land as well. Walk yourself out to the barren boonies, and you can literally watch the zombies falling from the sky (some kind of divine retribution, no doubt). Get out there far enough, and you’ll find yourself completely alone in the dark, with no direction or hope to right yourself. ‘Lost’ in Zombie Outback truly is a state of being.

Zombie Outback - Screen2

With a vaguely-defined objective (that you can only glean from reading the product description, and might not even exist) and no compass (moral or tangible) to guide you, Zombie Outback plays like a sandbox testing ground that could’ve housed a decent game, with some actual work. As it sits, it’s an incomplete, incomprehensible mess that doesn’t deserve your eight minutes in trial, let alone the price of the ticket. Skip it, mate.

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24 thoughts on “REVIEW: Zombie Outback”

  1. I played the trial and it was boring after 10 minutes of gameplay. Having the game updated would help this out a little better, I mean literally every time there’s a sunburn engine game that is made by so and so turns it into a poorly polished cash-in. I pray that next time if anybody makes a game using the sunburn engine then please don’t make it awful, make it average or good but not awful we got enough of those on Xbox already.

    1. I’d have to agree with you on that. ‘Sunburn’ games tend to -look- pretty decent, but generally lack the gameplay. Firebase Industries (Arcadecraft, Orbitron) does a good job with the engine for their games, and they’re highly playable. There’s a few others here and there that do alright, I know, but Devs do need to focus on the gameplay after applying that slick coat of paint to their game.

    2. This has gameplay. Limited gameplay. Very weak in scope.
      Also, would it hurt to put it in daylight? Night based is annoying.
      Wait- Still asking too much for this game.
      Okay lets try again:
      Can I have a pause button?
      Is that too stinkin hard?

    3. I’d argue to keep zombie killing in the dark. To me, it suffers in the light and loses its appeal. Look at Resident Evil 5 (yes, there were other problems) and the L4D2 daytime campaigns. That’s a part of the genre you just don’t mess with.

      The lack of a pause button is a troubling trend. It doesn’t happen a lot, but the fact that there are still games being produced without it bothers me tremendously. Are we not entitled to a break? Must we play the -whole- way through? It’s inhumane, is what it is.

    1. I’m all for it; I hate referring to my purchases / pricing in fake, conglomerate-branded monies. It might have had a unifying, one-currency-to-rule-them-all ring to it, but everything’s region-branded anyway, might as well use the local currency. $1 works for me.

    2. Aye instead of having a useless ten points left over.
      It just took MS eight years.

    3. I’m sure they will. Microsoft is very resentful of the fact that you guys get all the best currency slang (and slang in general). They’ll be hiding little :p :p :p in all their marketing promos, just to rub it in.

  2. I did the demo and you know this game wouldn’t have been all that bad and I would have spent some coin on it if it wasn’t so many damn zombies coming right for me and not allowing be to explore…they could have created some scare moments with the lighting and allow you to explore then all of a sudden hit you with a “wave” of zombies. Otherwise everything looked and played well on this game imo.

    1. Tats asking too much for this game aparrantly.
      Hopefully it gets updated, but tis a small hope.

    2. Yeah, I agree, David, the Dev could’ve used the environment and the zombies to their advantage. Not sure why they didn’t, and I wouldn’t hold out hope for an update either. It’s almost as if the developer got the game working, populated it with zombies, then said to hell with it, and released it. I know I’ve said this before (so forgive me if I sound like a broken record), but really, why go through all the trouble of creating a game, fully 3D, art, assets, the whole nine yards, then stop short of building any actual gameplay around it? I mean, the description for the game says ‘make it to the other end of the city’, but nowhere in the actual game is there any clue or indicator on what you should be doing. To me, it seems like a limitless wave shooter, without the waves. Baffling. The game could have been something decent. Now it’s just a waste.

    1. Oh, no doubt! The animals, on the other hand, have ten ways to kill you before breakfast.
      (My personal favourite “Thing In Australia Deadlier Than A Zombie” is the Blue Ringed Octopus. He’s such a toxic cutey!)

    2. Oh, you were referring to the wildlife… ah, now I got ya. I remember watching a show on the different killers lurking just in the reefs down there, so yeah, I believe it.

      That’s why I personally wouldn’t step foot anywhere in the Outback without Paul Hogan as my guide. I’d even let him do the ‘knife’ line to every dude we came across. And I would laugh sincerely, not patronizingly.

  3. Did the dev give a code for this or did you buy it?
    I trialed it and was disappointed. I tought that the exp could be used for a shop, or upgrades. But nothing.
    Theres no health packs, so its play until you die. I really hoped this would be better.

    1. I bought it. I buy all the games I review here, even the known-to-be-bad ones. I love to punish myself. 😦

      That XP counter is an odd beast. Why call it XP if there’s no point to gaining any? Call it the player’s ‘score’ and be done with it. Or maybe it was part of a larger plan to do something with the game, then dropped. Who knows. Not a lot of good decisions were made with the game.

  4. This is a shame – it sounds like some of the pieces of the puzzle were here, but crucially as with a real jigsaw puzzle, others were missing. Frustrating as the picture within looked like an interesting one.

    1. I was watching a YouTube commentary that compared it to DayZ (which I haven’t played, so I can’t comment), but you said it, a lot of pieces are in place. Shame it’s not the ones that matter, like fun and worthwhile gameplay.

    2. If you look in the description of the game it says something like “worrying there would be dayz like this” or something. I haven’t played dayz either since my pc sucks. Dayz you actually have to scavenge for resources and besides the zombies you meet others on the server who you can work with or kill and steal their supplies. That’s where the real tension in dayz is and thats usually what makes a zombie movie great and why i love zombie movies..the people always end up as the real enemy. This game is like a crappy version of Killing Floor on PC. This game would be great with online multiplayer, a better variety of zombies, and a real reason to explore. Sorry, I’m a terrible writer.

    3. I saw that ‘reference’ as well. Reading the description again also semi-explains why there are no health packs.

      I’d like to try DayZ, but I’m in the same boat as you (crappy PC), and I’m a known Console Sympathizer anyway, so if it isn’t on a Nintendo, Xbox, or Playstation, I won’t likely ever touch it.

      As tired as the zombie genre is getting on XBLIG, I’m fine with the same old stuff, so long as there’s a new twist to the plot / idea. That said, there’s absolutely a reason that The Walking Dead books, show, and game (minus Activision’s attempt) are so popular and well-regarded. The human element is what drives it forward, not the zombies.

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