Should I Buy? – Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?


There’s something I hav to tell you about this review. It’s not for a videogame. I know, I know. But it is still a game, and frankly I’ve spent more time playing this than anything else since moving in.

Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? is a gamebook of the choose-your-own-adventure style. Books like this contain a situation wherein you play a character with a vague goal, like escaping a magical cave, evading a monster or defeating an evil wizard. Did you play Fighting Fantasy or Goosebumps books as a kid? It’s that kind of thing.

This one, surprisingly, puts you in the shoes of random New York dude caught up in the outbreak of a zombie attack. The book touts your choices as being vital and deep, but they’re not really. There’s no equipment section or health points like some of these books, meaning you’re limited to only affecting the outcome by making a choice at the end of most sections of text.

The paths you can take do lead to wildly different tangents and even styles. On the roughly half dozen playthroughs I’ve done on the past couple of days, I’ve encountered times when I’m the load for some better survivors, times when I’m an action hero, Romero-esque survival situations, self-conscious parody of zombies and even an I am Legend style suburban chase. The book of I am Legend by the way, not the Will Smith film that butchers the ending.

If there is a downside to such adaptive sequences, it’s that the book as a whole doesn’t have any particular feel to it. It’s not a zombie story, it’s every zombie story. Sure there’s many readthroughs to be had, but it means you have to throw vague words of praise about the book rather being able to focus in on things like pacing or atmosphere.

Also, because the book doesn’t conform to one sort of zombie logic, you’ll have no idea if you should do the actual sensible thing for the situation or the crazy thing to survive, and neither does the book.

The length of each section and the amount of action that’s out of your hands means that this feels more like a collection of interactive short stories than a cohesive gamebook.

Overall though, this book is a fun, pulpy distraction that’s not trying to do anything more than offer some vicarious thrills and as that it really works.

Also, this is easily the best song about zombies I’ve found all week.

Price: £6.54 (Amazon Paperback)
£6.49 (Kindle)
£6.99 (Forbidden Planet web price)
£7.19 (Waterstones Online)

NOTE: I’ve only got online prices from general stores. A comprehensive list would be ridiculously long and I can’t go walking around to all the shops checking in store retail prices as well. If you pick it up in store, expect it to be a little more.

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