Newbie Mobile Gamer picks up their gun and goes zombie hunting in The Drowning
Truth through inexperience
There's a strong argument that we're all too close to the mobile games industry to experience all its nuances. So with that in mind, we introduce our regular column from the Newbie Mobile Gamer.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've gone from rescuing innocent vikings to cold-blooded killing. More precisely; shooting zombies in the head.
Or at least attempting to.
I'm sure this doesn't sound weird to experienced gamers, but to a newbie like me it's an enormous change. Not just environmentally but also psychologically.
The game I've been playing is The Drowning.
I've experienced an entire new universe of stupid zombies, bloodstains and hyper ventilation . It's as far away from the cute trolls and happy Scandinavian vikings in the first game I played Icebreaker as you can get.
There's absolutely nothing sweet or innocent about this game, which is why - I guess - it's got an age limit of 17.
Bullet for my valentine
The Drowning is a free-to-play game, which is good. It means I've not wasted any money in case I don't like it, just time.
I soon realise that the developer isn't forcefully trying to sell me lots of equipment that I need to keep moving ahead in the game, which in my view is another thumbs up.
I also like the short tutorial and technically a game couldn't be more straightforward - for a newbie at least.
Tapping with one finger moves you forward, tapping with two means shooting (make sure your nails are well cut). Then you just have to learn the art of shooting and moving accurately, which is a skill that's easier said than done.
The AK47 - superior to the Glock, we discover
Still, I discover that a few points have been left out from the tutorial. For instance how the camera angle and your position change when you slide a finger, or two, across the screen.
Neither does the game explain clearly enough that you have the option of enabling the ability to move and fire. This would have been good to know at the start.
A big world
I like the story; it's really not complicated. To finish a level, you've just got to last for two minutes without dying.
Within that time you're looking to shoot as many attacking zombies, and occasionally other beasts, as possible. Preferably you want to shoot them in the head as that scores higher.
Your overall goal is to collect points and various pieces of equipment that are required to upgrade your weapons and the transportation required to get you to new levels.
It's not just about equipment, though. If you get a high enough score and reach five stars on a level, you also get to find out where your score ranks compared to other players.
This is a nice incentive to keep getting better; first of all to get to five stars and then to improve your world ranking.
Shooting from the hip
Now let's talk about guns. You're given a basic Glock pistol at the start and the further you progress, the better weapons you obtain.
You're - of course - given the option to spend money to craft and upgrade these weapons straight away but to me, that's like cheating. And to be honest, I've managed to upgrade a few but the Magnum pistol, the first weapon I upgraded, is still my favourite.
Unless I really have to I don't really use the other ones that much.
Is the item collection and weapons upgrading too complex?
During the game I've also been given the opportunity to expand my knowledge of weapons, which previously were rather basic. I understand that an AK47 assault rifle is better than a pistol, that's about as far as it goes.
And, more generally, it's annoying how the developers seem to take for granted that you already possess certain skills.
As I'm neither experienced in weapons nor games (let alone shooting games), naturally I can't make comparisons with other shooting games, but I have a feeling that the equipment and upgrade section could be less confusing.
Happiness is a warm gun
Overall, though, I like The Drowning; something that surprises me.
I've previously favoured more pleasant games involving brain work or logical problem solving- at least I thought I did.
Once you get over the initial phase of panicking as soon as the zombies attack - and actually start focusing rather than just shooting frantically at anything in front of you - you get a significantly better score.
Yet, how long this new-born zombie slaughter excitement will last is another matter.
I've kept playing it for over two weeks and finally got my first five star ranking. I found out that I'm ranked no. 17,549 in the world on one of the early levels.
If nothing else, that's motivation to keep me going for a while longer, even if I'm sticking to just spending my valuable time, not my money.
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