Terminus: Zombie Survivors is a turn-based survival roguelike game developed by Korean based 신인건 and published by Ingeon Games. Available via early access on Steam, can you survive the journey to the Terminus?
Warning team, the zombies are coming!
A zombie virus has taken hold of humanity and life on Earth, as it was, is now a distant memory. Forced from your house due to lack of electricity and water, you hear of a place called the Terminus where other survivors are congregating. In a Walking Dead-style scenario you have no choice but to venture out.
It is time to leave the house and make our way through the unknown. How long we will survive, only time will tell!
At the very start of the game, you must select from 3 unlocked player classes, namely; a Soldier, Fire Fighter or Police Officer. Each has their own attribute pros and cons such as differing strength, dexterity and unique perks. Once you have selected your character you can rename them, change your look, add skill points and select a trait from those that are unlocked. There is quite an extensive list!
In the latest update, there are additional scenarios that can be selected. Other than the main Sanctuary level there is; Crowd, Out of Stock and Frozen Zombies. Each are set to test your resilience with certain gameplay mechanics such as temperatures, chances of finding loot and danger altered for the worse. Every time you start a new game the map is randomly generated.
Terminus: Zombie Survivors utilises a 2D birds-eye view, with movement and action points system similar to games such as Xcom. Waking up inside a house on a random part of the map, you must find the hallowed destination known as the Terminus. During your turn you can use the grid on the ground to move your character and interact with objects around them. Ransacking cupboards and other items of furniture is your best tactic as you begin to build up your resources. Crafting plays a major part of the game if you want to survive, while there is usually a good chance (scenario dependent) of finding helpful weapons, clothing and med-kits along the way.
Whilst your turn involves moving, scavenging, attacking zombies and breaking into houses, the zombies also have a goal, to kill you! Every move you make needs to be well thought out, like a game of chess, because if you do succumb to the zombies it is permadeath. Yep, we are back to the 90’s people, and I love it!
The game mechanics are quite involved in Terminus: Zombie Survivors whereby you must also look after yourself as it affects your attributes. For example, when compared to most other turn-based games, you can pretty much expect to have the same amount of action points each turn unless you are wounded or perhaps carrying more items, etc. Well, here it has been thought through slightly more realistically. On each turn, you will start with fewer points due to being tired. While this is ok to begin with, you very soon realise how important these are! With the world around you only revealing itself as you pass near it, there are a multitude of zombies waiting to get you. At times you may wish to quickly dart into a house for safety. Do you pick the lock, break the door down or smash the window? What is the success rate? is the weapon or device durable enough? how much sound will you make and will you alert the nearby zombies? have you got enough action points to then get in and make safe your entry point to stop zombies from getting in the same way as you?
So how do you ensure that you have a high amount of action points? Well, quite simply you need to look after yourself as you do in real life. Sleeping, eating, and making sure that you are in a warm environment. Each aspect has an effect on your well-being. There is also a day/night cycle to be mindful of as well as changes in the weather. By understanding the mechanics at play you can give yourself the best shot of traversing as much of the map as possible and heading towards your goal.
Along your journey you will meet NPC’s, who you can invite to join you in your mission. If there are any fans of The Walking Dead then you will know how frayed and untrusting these kinds of relationships can be. It is therefore down to you to use your instincts and use them to trade with or loot their supplies, however you see fit!
Beating up the zombies is a fairly fun affair. You have the ability to see which piece of equipment you are harbouring can cause the most amount of damage, as well as selecting where on the zombie you are going to strike. I tend to always go for the head!
Just when you think you are in safety, something is always lurking around the next corner, both outside the house as well as inside. Something I discovered on numerous occasions all too well!
Graphics & Audio
The graphics in Terminus: Zombie Survivors are fairly basic 90s-style pixel art. It reminds me more of the old HeroQuest and Laser Squad games that I had on my faithful Atari ST (currently residing in the loft due to space). Although I do prefer nowadays nice glitzy polished sprites and animations, there is something about Terminus that just takes me back to my childhood.
The audio is highly suspenseful with sustained strings and synths in the background while an ominous note taps away slowly. The FX are in line with the graphics, in that they are simple but effective. From the noises of moving your character, opening items and attacking zombies, they certainly do the job.
At first, each of my attempts at getting to the Terminus did not last that long at all. It certainly has a steep learning curve and takes a while to master. It took me a good few hours to get there safely and I did choose to go cautiously at times. As mentioned earlier, each game features a randomly generated map, therefore each play is always different. As another bonus, there are additional scenarios to get your teeth into and test your skill. I highly recommend playing the Sanctuary first! Can you unlock all of the classes?
For a one-man band, Terminus: Zombie Survivors is a fiendishly tricky survival game that does not let you simply save at checkpoints and test your theories. Once you are dead, kiss that play-through goodnight. It has a lot of replayability as well as a lot to discover, you definitely will not get it right the first time!
I award Terminus: Zombie Survivors the Thumb Culture Gold Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.