Something has gone horribly wrong, and the streets are all empty. Radiation and clouds of dust have blocked off the sunlight. Electrical discharges from the overloaded clouds lights up the streets. Wait a second; I think I see something moving. At last another human, at last someone to talk to, and someone who can share my loss. Oh no, he is not here for a chat. Get off me or I will have to shoot you. BLAM! What the hell is going on. I can hear footsteps of at least ten people. Are they here to rescue me or are they out to eat my brains? Better aim the flashlight at the sound, and steady my handgun. Yeah bitches I am ready. BLAM, BLAM, BLAM…reload. Got to run. A clip full of death awaits the scum. Turning around I see a red beastly zombie in a crouched position, but I aim at the closest fat zombie. Blasting away at the fatties, and not able to kill the red beast I see how it launches itself at me. Get off me! Don’t eat my brains. ARGHHH!
Welcome to Aftermath, a survival dual stick shooter where survival is a slim option. At least you can take as many of the undead with you as possible. The controls of Aftermath are quite fresh for the genre with a combination of the standard movement controls on the left stick, and new slider controls for the right. The slider controls aim the flashlight. The view in the flashlight is the target area, and our lonely protagonist automatically fires at all zombies within. There is no manual aiming, and you can’t choose to for example kill harder zombies first. I myself prefer direct control over aiming, as it lets me strategize a bit. As it is now the most important thing is to place yourself in good positions, and movement is more important than aiming.
There are a limited number of quite easy levels available in the game. I completed these within 15 minutes, and after that there is only a survival mode left. The survival mode is quite broken for me since the AI is quite poor camping is an option. I just backed the hero into a space between a wall and a parked car, and no zombie touched him for two hours. This is not acceptable for a game with global high scores through Openfeint. I would rather have more single player missions as the poor AI doesn’t matter when on the move.
The presentation of Aftermath is really well executed, and the mood it creates is worth the price alone. To me it feels like those first steps in Silent Hill when all is foggy, and only the odd noise can be heard. In Aftermath this soon turns into 28 Days Later as the quite agile zombies start scrambling for your guts. The spawning of zombies feels quite random, and I would have liked to feel that there is an end to the supply of them. The lighting is really cool as you only see what is inside the light of the flashlight. The odd lightning strike also helps getting a view of the surroundings. I really like the presentation, and the maps have a lot of details such as cars, dumpsters and fences. The ambient sounds of rain help set the desolate feeling of despair. The sound effects are also quite good with some nasty gnawing sounds as the zombies come near.
I also enjoyed the slow eerie music combining a dusty old piano with some slow electronics. You can also play your own music, but Aftermath needs your full attention.
Aftermath is a hard one to rate. I like the presentation, the controls and the mood of the game. The lack of levels really hurt it as the survival mode lets you camp. It adds some new things to the genre such as indirect control over aiming, and goal oriented missions. At a buck it is definitely worth getting if you are into horror, zombies or dual stick shooters.
Seller: Peter Pashley