March of the Living combines two ideas: the battle for life in a world invaded by the living dead, and gameplay heavily inspired on the outstanding FTL: Faster Than Light. Unfortunately, despite a solid foundation and well-written adventures, nothing entices you to play more than a few rounds.
We travel around the game world as one of numerous heroes with varying abilities. By commanding them, we attempt to reach a secure, fortified city, but along the route, depending on the character chosen, we will have a side task to achieve. The map represents a genuine network of places we may visit. Because the configuration of roads and things is produced at random, each adventure is slightly different from the last. Unfortunately, the number of prospective events is limited. As a result, we come across the identical thread twice during the game. The adventures are well-written, but lack the flair that makes them memorable. Strange occurrences are meant to be entertaining, but they don’t add anything to the gameplay in practice. There are many right texts here, but none of them are really fascinating. On the road to our objective, we will encounter hordes of zombies, other survivors who will try to aid us or steal our goods, and partners who will help us break through the waves of zombies. However, while adding new members to the team, we must exercise caution since more people implies more food.
In addition to feeding our children, we must ensure that they are well rested. Every kilometer each dead corpse exhausts the characters, thus the less we use weapons, the more frequently we must rest. This is acceptable, but it substantially slows progress we seldom uncover more than two or three spots between pauses. If we start overexerting ourselves or go too long without eating, the characters will begin to weaken and weary even faster. Starvation is more hazardous than the live dead in many respects, therefore we must carefully schedule our breaks and meals. It’s simplest to restock supplies in places that also provide a secure place to sleep, but every time we do, we risk attracting an angry throng. The game pushes us to choose between long, possibly profitable searches and short journeys with few advantages but also few risks. In practice, this implies that in order to leave the city richer than when you entered, you must work a lot. The game’s action takes place on a series of boards visible from the side, with just the environment changing. Whether we’re in the city or on the highway, our heroes may walk over a short strip of asphalt that takes up one-third of the screen.
This implies that fights boil down to racing from the left to the right side of the battlefield, passing zombies before they bite us, and firing as soon as we have some space. Due to the scarcity of ammo, we must use a shotgun or handgun to thin out big groups of adversaries before finishing them out with hand-to-hand combat. The audiovisual environment is unimpressive. The artwork on the game’s cover appears the nicest because it is the only one with at least some detail. Character models are not very appealing, and even when a fascinating viewpoint arises from time to time, it is difficult to talk of excellent quality.
March of the Living blends two intriguing notions into a complete flop. It’s not a horrible title, but it doesn’t have much to offer that would make it worthwhile to spend more time with it.