The Walking Dead Episode One: A New Day
One of the surprises of the summer, Telltale's imaginative video game adaptation of the transmedia phenomenon The Walking Dead is still spreading to new platforms. Today the game has landed in the App Store, and it's just as compelling on iOS as it is on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.
This adaptation stays faithful to the spirit of the original comic book penned by Robert Kirkman. Rather that shamble down the well-worn path of zombie hunting like Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising, the game eschews action-heavy conflicts in favor of stress testing the the fragile alliances that form between survivors who meet in happenstance and frequently butt heads over the best way to continue living in a world dominated by the undead.
Players take the role of Lee Everett, a former history professor who is being driver to jail after being convicted of murdering a state senator who was sleeping with his wife. Before his police escort makes it to the penitentiary, he accidentally slams into a zombie on the interstate and the car careens down an embankment. When Lee awakens, he sees the dead cop in the woods and slowly pieces together that something has gone horribly wrong.
During the rest of this point and click adventure, Lee crosses paths with a few familiar faces from the comic books and television show, including Hershel Greene and Glenn. Like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, what you say in conversation and how you act when survivors turn on one another determines how other characters will react to you in trying moments. Thanks to sharp dialogue and convincing characters, these interactions are the highlight of the game.
Given the game's slow pace and comic book art style, nothing has been lost in the transition from television to touchscreen. You simply drag your finger across the screen to move, and tap items to interact with them. The more frantic encounters are driven by quick-time events packed with frantic screen taps and swipes. The environmental puzzles aren't going to test your mental prowess, but are executed well enough to keep you playing.
The Walking Dead runs on runs on iPhone 4, iPad 2, and the new iPad. I played through it on the iPad 2 and experienced no perceivable hiccups. The first episode costs $4.99, and is worth checking out for any fan of the franchise or adventure games. You can purchase the next four episodes individually, or spring for the $14.98 bundle. Look for the next chapters to release in the coming months. In the meantime, read our full review of Episode One's original release here.