Sick of zombie survival games? We all are. But don’t let that deter you from keeping an eye on Dead Maze, a new isometric animated MMORPG from indie developer Atelier 801. It’s a 2D MMO that will be F2P (free to play) when it launches in the coming weeks, and we’ve spent a little time with its closed beta. What we found is a surprisingly robust-featured game that takes a unique story-oriented approach at what’s traditionally just a “kill or be killed” genre.
Unlike most online zombie games, the focus isn’t solely on “FPS survival” like DayZ and the like. Employing a graphical style that’s closer to games like Dofus, with an Action RPG method of control and combat. WASD moves your character, with left click controlling attacks, and a limited hotbar controlling skill use. The game begins with you and your friends on the way to a football game, unknowing about the fact that the world is ending as you travel. Your car breaks down, all hell breaks loose, and you find you’re one of the very few who’s resistant to the zombie virus.
Thus begins your journey to find other survivors, make a name for yourself, and find a solution to the doomsday scenario. Combat is pretty satisfying, with pretty much any object in the world outside of food and drink being usable as a weapon - even dinner plates can kill the undead. They break, have different stats, different attack speeds, and use more or less of your stamina bar to swing. But you can also combine most everything in the world with other things to make unique weapons like a kitchen knife and a wood plank to make a spear. It’s borrowing from Dead Rising in that aspect.
There’s a good story so far to Dead Maze, mystery behind different factions, interplaying relationships between characters, and so forth. It can be a little roughly translated, but nothing jarring (the Atelier 801 guys are French). The biggest complaint I have so far is that after a few intro quests and interesting bits of tutorial that lay out your story, your own private homestead, and more... you’re immediately tasked with going out and killing SIXTY undead. Combat’s alright, but it’s not THAT fun. Hopefully the ludicrous quest requirement (and any others that might be lurking like it) will be adjusted before the full F2P launch in the coming weeks.
I’m excited about the crafting system, the questing, and the prospect of building up my homestead as I go. I’m curious about how you earn new skills, as leveling up doesn’t seem to do much aside from offer you 1 of 3 rewards (items or stuff for your house) to choose from. I’m curious to learn more about the social aspects, as you’ll see plenty of other players roving about the game’s camps and open world zones too (you travel between them via “bikes” that act as sort of portals). There are bound to be clans, perhaps guild housing, and more down the road. I’m curious to see if dungeons and the like are added too. We’ll be playing more of Dead Maze as it continues in closed beta, and onto full release, so stay tuned.
For now, keep an eye on its Steam Page, and look out for our key giveaway soon.