A marine, a butcher, an assassin, a marshal and an exorcist walk into a small town infested with zombies… What, you’ve already heard this one before? Well, that’s OK because developers Bigmoon Studios and publisher Headup Games are hoping that you are familiar with the zombie phenomenon and jump right into their new game, Trapped Dead: Lockdown. The story is simple: after being overrun by brain-crazed zombies, a small town is rapidly locked down tight by the military and now you are forced to slice, dice and shoot your way through the hordes of zombies that stand in your way. In this action-packed hack and slash RPG, keeping your blades sharp, your magic powerful and your reflexes honed is the only way you will make it out alive.
The exorcist (think wizard) does well with ranged and melee combat.
Trapped Dead: Lockdown is an homage to the horror movies of the ’80s with players controlling their characters in a 3rd person isometric view. Each character has a different storyline so picking a new character to play with will give you a new story and new objectives to completing their path. In addition, each character has their own individual strengths and abilities so you will have to use those particular attributes to their fullest in order to capitalize on what each character is best at. The skill trees for each character is individualized giving you access to new unique defensive abilities and attack moves as you progress through the story. The action is fast-paced and tactile so if you are not familiar with your characters abilities, getting swarmed by zombies is inevitable.
This is the inventory screen. Here you can check out your stats as well as equipping weapons and armor.
Machetes, knives, pistols, axes, tasers, bows, shotguns, rifles, grenades, magic crosses and vehicles. These are just a few of the literally hundreds of different weapons that are at your disposal for dispatching the walking dead. You have the choice of wielding either two different weapons or one very powerful two-handed weapon. The ridiculously large number of weapons, tools and armor definitely keeps the gameplay interesting because it continually allows you to experiment with new item combinations. For me, this aspect really kept me engaged in the gameplay because I was always coming across something new and different whenever I disposed of a zombie horde, kicked open a crate or defeated a mission boss.
The environments are often really dark but if you invite a couple of friends you should have no problem cleaning up the zombie apocalypse.
While the gameplay itself in Trapped Dead: Lockdown is fairly intriguing, the visuals are really dated and kept me from being completely engrossed in the setting. The graphics are very reminiscent of games from the late ’90s and early 2000s. Most of the set pieces are very dark so you sadly don’t get to see a lot of detail in the character designs and elements in the environment. The characters, cars and other items are very boxy looking and could have benefited from a little polish. The bland character designs simply forced me to focus on their abilities as opposed to their looks but it would have been nice to play with a cool looking character.
You will find a grungy guy with a shopping cart in various locations that will sell you food, weapons and armor so keep on the look out for him.
The sound effects and soundtrack in the game were all very well done. The moaning of the zombies, the crackle of rifle report and the hacking of zombie flesh are all high quality sound effects and help to present a town that has gone to hell in a hand-basket with most of its population being turned into the undead. The soundtrack as well is comprised of tunes that are anxious and solemn during exploration but turn to upbeat and immediate as you face off with one of the games many challenging bosses. While these two aspects are decent parts of this game, the voice overs were really a let down for such an ambitious outing for Bigmoon. The voice acting really felt phoned in and instead of engrossing me in the story, it just took me out of the experience altogether.
I have to admit, cruising around and running over zombies in the squad car was a blast.
It seems that games based on the zombie genre are a dime-a-dozen so if you want your game to stand out, it really has to bring something new to the table and Trapped Dead: Lockdown just doesn’t do enough. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast jumping into a taxi cab and mowing down zombies in the street but that is something that I have done in other zombie games (or any other open-world game) in the past. The co-op multiplayer and RPG features of this game are what really keeps it afloat and without it, this experience would be vastly incomplete. You can download a copy now on Steam for $19.99 but you might want to wait until this one goes on sale at that price. It’s not a terrible game but it just fell short when compared to other games in the genre.
Challenge - 5/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Design - 6/10
+ Good ambiance and setting
+ isometric design is satisfying
– level design is wonky at best
– visuals are dated and bland
– Momentum interrupted with meaningless fetch quests