Delight Games: Zombie High, A Review
Zombie High Basics
- An Interactive Storytelling Game
- By Delight Games
- Free to Purchase
- In App Purchasing available to increase your abilities and items
Zombie High: The Setting
Delight Games’ Zombie High takes place in the near future when a plague has overtaken most of humankind turning them into zombies. Now less than 80,000 people hold the fate of humanity in their hands.
We are now in the year 16 A.Z. which means it has been 16 years since the start of the victus mortuus pandemic which wiped out most of the world’s population, turning them to zombies. However, unlike in many zombie tales, you can get infected by being scratched by one of these zombies, but you won’t necessarily turn into one if you can get the right kind of medicine in time and the infection’s not to bad. People who are found to be infected are called ‘fectos and are mocked and abused.
Speaking of people who are left alive, they now live in separate underground shelters, high-tech military bunkers to try to keep people safe from the infection. Unfortunately, they do not always work.
We meet our protagonist, Jane Valentine, as she is preparing for her first day of high school. Jane is excited, but nervous. High school is a dangerous place, with only just under 20% of the freshman class getting infected and dying by graduation.
According to the law in the sector children have to be homeschooled until they turn 16 and then they can attend high school. So this will be Jane’s first chance to attend a school with other kids, including her friend Chase who lives down the hall. He’s a year older, so he’s already a sophomore.
School is important because only the best are chosen to enter either the medical or military fields. More average students might get janitorial, teaching or service positions, while the others can either marry someone in a better position or get food vouchers by volunteering for medical experiments. It’s not an easy life.
Jane lives in sector Zeta which is underneath where Tuscon used to be. She lives there with her mother, a scientist, and her father, General Valentine.
Jane and Chase start the game by leaving for their first day at school. To get there, they have to get their retinas scanned to make sure they aren’t ‘fectos. Jane is armed with the requisition crow bar they allow freshmen to carry at school, but she’d rather have her gun with her.
Chase fills Jane in on the social scene at school which consists of Baggers who like to go running off killing the dead when they can find them. “All they care about is killing meatbags,” he finishes. Then there is Royalty, the cheerleaders and other “pretty princesses.” After that comes the Erlichs, who are the super-smart brainiacs who always have their noses in medical texts. But Chase thinks “Kid A” is the worst. Kid A is the guy who is so smart and strong and brave and cool that all the girls are in love with him. Chase finishes by saying he himself is a “rat,” someone who doesn’t fit in with any of the groups.
Once at school, Jane learns that students are rewarded with bullets for doing well there. She also soon finds out that there is a reason freshmen are called Bait and that so many of them die before graduation. There are infected who turn up right in the school and Jane has to find a way to help deal with them, without losing her life in the process.
Just as importantly, Jane meets the sophomore Kid A, Tommy Fernando, who turns out to be just the kind of boy she likes. He’s sweet, cute, strong, funny, and nice. Unfortunately, he’s also dating someone else, but he seems interested in Jane too. What will happen in this love triangle? Will Jane escape fate as a zombie? Will her friends? And will she ever get her man?
These are the questions answered in the plot of the first book of Zombie High. There are multiple books in the series and you can keep getting them for more zombie action.
Zombie High: Game Mechanics
Before I give my review, let’s go over the game mechanics of Zombie High. The first mechanic is choice. All along the game, you are repeatedly given a series of choices at critical moments in the game. What choice you make determines what happens next. A choice might get you extra bullets and lose you popularity or it could even kill you. It’s up to you to look closely at what is happening in the story right now and decide what the best action likely is.
Save Points: There are save points in the game where, once you have successfully gotten past them, you can return back to the nearest save point should you be killed farther along in the game instead of having to start all the way back at the beginning.
Popularity: This stat tells you how popular you are in the high school. I haven’t noticed it having a strong correlation with actual game performance though.
Ammo: This is how many bullets you have. This is a crucial statistic as bullets are your best weapon against the infected (as long as you get your hands on a gun). They can also be used for trade.
Humanity: This is your soul, your goodness, what makes you human. As with popularity, I don’t see a strong correlation with game play, but it’s possible if this drops too low it will affect you.
Infection: This stat keeps track of how infected you are by the zombie disease. Even a scratch by a zombie will start an infection. As long as your infection number remains below 10, then you will remain human. After that… you’re a shuffling meatbag.
Delight Games’ Zombie High is an engaging piece of interactive fiction. I played it through without ever having to purchase any in game items or coins, so I didn’t feel ripped off in any way. The main character, Jane Valentine, is stubborn and definitely is blinded by her crush, but that feels realistic for a 16-year-old girl entering high school. Jane is also tough and really good with a gun.
It would be nice to have a better feel for how some of the stats, like popularity and humanity, actually affect the game. It seems logical to want these to increase, but I’m not quite sure why I want them to do so.
Delight Games does do a very nice job in making the zombies and zombie fights feel creepy as you try to choose what the right maneuver is to save yourself and your friends from doom at the hands of an infected person. Overall, the game achieves a good feel for a post-apocalyptic future where zombies are the plague that threatens humanity’s existence.
Delight Games is devoted to storytelling, text-based games that can be played on the phone, PC or tablet. This interactive fiction doesn’t just involve passively reading along as the story goes. Instead, readers have to make critical choices along the way.
The choices readers make are the game play moves in this new interactive fiction style of gaming. A wrong choice could lead to being socially outcast, infection, or even death. Meanwhile, smarter choices can gain a character important items, information, popularity, and save their lives.
The story plays out from one person’s perspective. In the case of Zombie High, that’s Jane Valentine, a freshman in high school, otherwise known to the upperclassmen as “bait.” Delight writes their games this way to keep the stories feeling like they are one person’s life playing out in the game.
Where Can I Find and Play Delight Games?
Delight Games’ major apps are all available on app stores including Google Play, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Apple App Store, Amazon Appstore for Android, and Barnes and Noble Nook.
Have You Played a Text-Based Game Before?
© 2018 Teeuwynn Woodruff