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.
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.
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.