REVIEW: ApocZ

Though I haven’t played it, DayZ has been an enlightening watch on the various YouTubes and Twitches dedicated to it’s unique brand of zombie slaying. Or should I say human slaying? The zombies have pretty much been forgotten, and instead, it’s the human versus human fight that’s been the primary antagonism. Often hilarious (and always sad), it’s been interesting to watch players team up and kill weaker players, loot their corpses, and have a terrific laugh about it (no wonder I’ve lost faith in Humanity). That social experiment now comes to XBLIG as ApocZ ($1.00).

Visually, the game is a stunner. Developer Sick Kreations has always been able to craft superb-looking XBLIGs with their custom engine, and ApocZ is no exception. Excellent shadowing that changes with the day / night cycle, rippling water, and a large, impressive world of various buildings and houses (purely for a pretty show; you can’t enter most). Oh, also a couple thousand zombies, set in four square miles of the Black Sea area in Ukraine. And in light of the recent events there, a zombie apocalypse is probably the last thing they need.

The theme is survival. Much like DayZ… No, exactly like DayZ, the game drops you into the world equipped with the bare minimum (in ApocZ, it’s the clothes on your back, an axe, and a flashlight). From there, it’s on you to combat the dead while foraging for survival gear and weapons. It’s more than just finding a gun, too; it’s the necessities. You’ll have to monitor your food and water, and, if you find yourself in a scrape, you’ll have to patch yourself up to avoid bleeding out.

And with both supplies and zombies clustered around the buildings and houses, you won’t have much of a choice but to get in there and fight. You’ll start small and underpowered, but you can eventually build up to bigger and better, finding guns at abandoned military barracks, backpacks to carry more gear in, even a car / truck to drive between the towns, provided you can find the tires and the fuel to get them up and running.

ApocZ - Screen

Zombies have violated the Ukraine’s territorial integrity. 

Like any end-of-world scenario, there is a finite amount of ammunition, guns, and supplies available on the map. Offline, you won’t face any competition, but if you’re online, and on a full server (up to 16 players), some ‘sacrifices’ will have to be made. And by ‘sacrifices’, I mean many people will die in the rat race towards the rifles. If you’ve jumped into a world, and see dozens of axes and flashlights just laying in the streets, it’s safe to say you’ve joined the wrong party. ApocZ is a game best enjoyed with friends, not randoms, if for no other reason than to have somebody watching your back.

Be forewarned: even with friends and optimal conditions, the online portion isn’t perfect. Though the majority of the initial launch issues have been sorted out, connections and syncing with other players can still be sketchy. Plenty of games I joined saw players popping in and out, zombies just standing around without attacking, floating / disappearing supplies, etc. The developers are keen to work out those issues, though, and along with the budget price tag, it’s hard to find enough viable reasons this wouldn’t be an immediate buy for most.

That puts this game almost on the same level with DayZ— a form of acceptable murder, more about the ‘survival of the fittest’ than a zombie game with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Something you can join in, have fun with, and repeat as desired. ApocZ might not be as involved or offer as large a world as its inspiration, but it’s a very solid alternative for console gamers looking to get in on the action.

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This review is also featured at Indiepitome

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33 thoughts on “REVIEW: ApocZ”

  1. I finally got around to playing the mp yesterday night … and promptly was engrossed for about 5 hours! The game has its rough spots, but it might be the best overall game experience I’ve played on on the XBLIG list. I’ve never had the chance to play DayZ and this might be the closest I get; I might yet get bored, but the unpredictability of human players really makes every playing session unique. If this was an XBLA title at a budget $9.99 price I have to think the Xbox community would gobble it up (it would be wonderful to see it on the Xbone, wouldn’t it?). The persistence of the game on the top download list bodes well for my continuing playtime. This is better than 1/4 of a large Dairy Queen Blizzard any day (which is how far my dollar would go).

    1. That ‘closest to DayZ‘ bit is the reason I eventually relented and put it on the leaderboard. I’ve seen the game panned on Reddit, and rightfully so, as it IS a clone. However, for a lot of people who play primarily on consoles, ApocZ is the closest they’ll get to the original game. It may not be exactly ‘fair’ to reward the game for it, but it is fun stuff, as you said, and sometimes, fun can be enough.

      I’m sure we’ll see this make its way to the One once ID@Xbox opens up, too. If it does, I’d personally like to see the Devs do a little more to make the game theirs, as opposed to a fairly straight copy.

    2. That’s always something to bear in mind about Xbox indie ‘clones’ of popular games – they’re often the only way to get that playing experience on a console. Although I prefer originality, there’s definitely a part of me which thinks that if a developer/publisher doesn’t port a game to consoles then their share of the console audience is fair game for an enterprising XBLIG dev to snatch up if they have the chops.

    3. Yes sir, I got away (well, I try to get away) from calling games outright clones because of it. Were I re-doing the leaderboard, things like Sushi Castle and White Noise Online would now have places on that board. I just hope the service isn’t done and buried yet; still so many games I was looking forward to.

      I suppose I’m partially relieved that MS hasn’t opened up the ID@Xbox floodgates yet. Would be a mass exodus from XBLIG. Well, bigger than the exodus already is. 🙂

    1. ‘True’ in the sense that you can explore / survive in the world alone? Yes, you can pick up items, weapons, repair vehicles, etc., all on your own, and of course, kill the zombies. I believe there are 2,000 that spawn on the map. Never survived long enough to kill them all, but hey, it’s a goal, right?

    2. If you’re looking for a campaign or something similar, then no. Basically singleplayer is multiplayer without… multiplayer, i.e. you’re completely on your own, no NPC’s or bots, just you and zombies.

    3. Exactly as Soosh said, which is better put (thanks, sir). No campaign, and no storyline. So far as I know, there are no plans for it, either. They’re still working on fixing some issues.

    1. ‘Simpler’ would fit, I think. It’s not as involved as State of Decay, or even DayZ, for that matter, but a simpler version of the survival idea, sure. Though if it’s State of Decay you’re after, you’ve got leaderboard game Survivalist for that. 🙂

  2. Since you mentioned that this is best to play with friends that have your back and since I don’t have any friends I was wondering if anyone that gets/got this game would like to add me and maybe we could play sometime my gamertag is just like my name here. Send me a note with your add request letting me know who you are on here and lets gang up online and kick some zoobie. (zombie bootie)

  3. This seem very nice, XBLIG still have some juice (or milk) in those juggs. I ended up buying Castleminer Warfare, I liked the demo, I mean the controls and the character, how he moves, still have not play it online but its seems like it will be a very good game. I’m surprised to see so many good games ones at this time. Well, those developers did not starting making those game yesterday, so they probably was doing them while this 360 was still on the spotlight, but glad to see they decided to finish them and release them. Will try the demo of this one, did not get my attention at first.

    1. CastleMiner Warfare will probably be the next game I move onto, although I’m not exactly eager to step into another Minecraftian FPS. DigitalDNA does good with its shooters, so it should be mostly solid with the online play.

      I thought I’d read that this would be the developer’s last release on XBLIG, though, so that’s another sign the ‘end times’ are approaching. So long as good stuff keeps coming out, though, no need to worry just yet.

    2. Bought it after one try. Played it online and it’s fun but hard to build when someone is trying to shoot you. LOL But I did start up my own online game and built a fort thinking I would have a few peep holes to shoot out of but once others saw me in my hole they were able to shoot or grenade my walls and expose me. YIKES Think I’m going to buy ApocZ tonight and try my hand at that online.

    3. Exactly. That’s part of my concern with those types of FPS. Murder Miners stressed that point of building cover, but I thought the same thing— ‘As soon as I start building something, somebody’s just going to grenade the damn thing… with ME in it!’ The Minecraft theme is ideal for building maps and then sharing them with others, not so much with building things while actually IN battle. 🙂

    1. Agreed. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook), it has to come so soon after something like Banana Bananza. Still a lot of quality stuff to play that sometimes gets overlooked due to the boob games and / or problems with the service.

      Thanks for the RT on Twitter, by the way! 🙂

  4. Wait… there’s a version of DayZ (you know, the game that I have been harbouring perverse sexual lust for but couldn’t buy because my PC is literally held together with duct tape) for the Xbox?

    Truly, I have found God.

    1. Your prayers pretty much had to answered. After ‘Hostel’, ‘The Human Centipede’, and… Romeo and Juliet… featuring seals… you were due for some good fortune.

      That said, your experiences with human centipedes would want me to be as far away from your server / game world as possible. I’d gladly throw all my belongings down on the ground for you… just don’t… don’t… centipede me, man.

    2. Oooh, good idea! Quick, here’s the pitch: A version of Mortal Kombat, but with internet reviewers instead of ninjas! My fatality would involve sewing all of my enemies together! It’s fool proof, freakin’ fool proof!

    3. If we’re talking Mortal Kombat here, then I want to be Chameleon. That way I can borrow powers and turn the ‘stitch-work’ right back at my foes. Gonna be a messy one. Well, messier than usual for Mortal Kombat. Even Kano would be offended.

  5. Bought it the day it got released and it’s quite astonishing what you get for the price of a large chocolate bar. Yes, it did have problems at launch and still has, but it seems like the developer is working tirelessly to sort them out and replies to every single bug report.
    And this game came as a surprise to me, never heard of it until I saw it on the marketplace.

    Kudos to Sick Kreations!

    1. Yeah, the SK guys made a smart move jumping on the DayZ bandwagon, and they’re one of the few XBLIG teams that could do it right. Reminded me of Giant Hunter a few months back. Take an existing concept or big idea, and just XBLIG-ify it. Give the people a budget-priced alternative.

      It was somewhat of a surprise. They posted a YouTube video on its progress awhile back, but I’ll admit I lost track of it after that. If anything, I assumed they’d move it onto the now-gen systems since they’re becoming so indie-friendly. Still might. I could see this on PS4, with trophy support and a more stable online environment. Hell, make it 64 players per server, make it a real clusterfuck of axes and flashlights! 🙂

  6. I like the look of this.
    Kinda like State of decay but lonely.
    Hey Tim, any swords in this one? Hows the melee selection look?

    1. Also this kinda would be awesome with the same but with Dinosaurs.
      Imagine that.

    2. Right now there’s only one melee weapon in the game (axe). So no swords I’m afraid. But I’m sure the developer will add more in future updates.

    3. Yeah, it’s hard to say with these reviews, as some of the games I write about end up evolving and getting past any troubles I post about. Two months from now, they could have blasters and lightsabers. 🙂

      They’ve got the official site for the game:

      http://www.apocz.com/

      You can find the forums there, too, so that’s an avenue for reporting any bugs, and / or keeping up to date on changes being made.

      @saansilt: Oh, buddy, have I got good news for you!

      Just found out about this a month ago, but have you heard of The Stomping Land? It’s quite literally DayZ‘s survival aspect and Player Vs. Player, mixed with Dinosaurs. It got Kickstarted awhile back, and looks to be PC only, but hey, your meal ticket has come in, sir.

      http://thestompingland.com/

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