One of these days it will happen. A zombie apocalypse will descend upon the Earth and will find us all rather prepared. In the movies it is always the other way around, but games such as Lone Survivor will make us ready for this inevitable doom.
Maybe it’s in our blood, in our genes to wish for the coming of the end of days. We have it in our holy book from all over the world, so why not have it in our culture and in our games. We want to be on the brink of extinction, only to resist against the forces of evil and win in the end.
It’s no wonder that so many games about zombies and about surviving in spite of overwhelming odds are now available, but very few capture the dark and desperate tone a catastrophe would bring. Lone Survivor is the perfect game to make people and gamers alike understand that zombies will kill us in the end and they will bring an end to humanity.
Lone Survivor is built on Adobe Air, but you shouldn't be worried, as the developers provide packages with all the necessary requirements, for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. There are .deb files for users with Debian-based distributions and .rpm packages for users with Red Hat-based OSes.
We tested Lone Survivor on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and the game runs just fine. You don't have to install Adobe Air and the installation can be performed through Ubuntu Software Center.
Story and Gameplay
As all zombie stories go, this is pretty much a standard action. The main character is holed up in an apartment building for some time, but he knows that he cannot last forever without food or water. The corridors are flooded with angry zombies and other weird phenomena.
There aren’t many details about the main character and, in fact, the game starts with just one objective: get out of the apartment alive! The task seems easy enough, but even with a small map and a lot of courage, it will be a difficult journey.
Lone Survivor is a survival horror game and what better way to show it off if not by implementing a flashlight that consumes batteries like a hot knife through butter. The player will find batteries scattered all over the place, but using them is an entirely different thing altogether.
The game features a simple inventory that reminds us of old games and the problems they had with combining items. Some puzzles will require users to combine items, but the action doesn’t pause, so you will have to carefully choose the moment to do this.
The main antagonists in the game are flesh-eating zombies, but they can be easily bypassed. They can’t see in the dark, so hiding in low-lit corners and letting them pass is always a good strategy. You can also shoot them, but like in all survival horrors, the ammunition is really scarce and should be used as a last resort.
The zombies are also attracted to meat and flares, so spreading those, if you have them, is also a good way of avoiding contact.
The twist of the gameplay is provided by the psychical instability of the main character. The only way to save the game is by returning to the apartment and sleep, restoring your mental sanity, but you can also use some pills in order to avoid sleep. In this case, the character will slowly go insane and experience hallucinations.
Users mustn’t get tricked by the simple looks of the game. The atmosphere is fantastic and I guarantee it will make you jump out of the chair, even in window mode. It’s made in an 8-bit fashion, but the graphics are deceiving.
If you find the game lacking in the graphics department, you should still give it a go. The story and the way it makes you question the reality will slowly engulf any criticism. If you add the amazing sound atmosphere, there's nothing that should stop you from you playing it.
I would have loved to have the option to pause the game when performing certain actions, like combining items or reloading the gun. I understand why the game was built like this, but there's enough tension without artificially inflating it.
The thin line between craziness and sanity is always hard to draw, especially in a game that provides little reading material or clues. Nonetheless, the fact that you can’t actually tell if the main character is crazy or if he really is in a zombie reality is done wonderfully and it’s the selling point of a great game.
Lone Survivor makes a wonderful horror game and I can’t understand the criticism of some people who said it’s not really about survival and it wasn’t scary enough. I’ve been playing games for some time now and it’s hard for a game to surprise or scare me, but I have to say this one did a great job and I recommend it to everyone who likes a little adrenaline boost from time to time.