Infectonator: Survivors was originally a browser game, that was successfully kickstarted into a title on Steam. How far has it come since its release onto Steam back in April 2014? Not that far really. The game was slated to be in early access until completion, but about a month ago, the developers have said that the game will be completed in early 2016, which is a bit of a stretch goal since content for the game seems to be a priority for the developers. Toge Productions said: “We don’t actually know when exactly the game will be finished. We are trying to make the game as good as possible. That means that changes may happen along the way as we try to improve our game. These changes may also effect our project timeline. Even so, we are hoping to complete development by 2016.”
I’ve had the pleasure of playing this game on numerous occassions throughout its development cycle, including when it was first launched back in 2014, and it had received accolades such as “Indie Prize Asia 2014 – Best Desktop Game”. When it was released, it had a good solid foundation from which to work from, in the sense that zombies games had spawned in everywhere at this point, but they were attempting something different form everyone else, since it played like a tower defence game with 16 bit sprites, and the music to boot. But now, after 29 updates, and 16 months of waiting, the game has become kind of stale. I don’t expect the developers to generate additional sales once the game is completed since the game no longer represents what I first loved about the game.
Infectonator: Survivors is a Randomized Permadeath Survival Simulator that combines RTS, Tower Defense, Roguelike, and Management-Simulation gameplay. Your goal is to lead your group in a struggle to stay alive. You must scavenge resources, build defenses, and find a way to survive. In this game, death is permanent and levels are randomly generated.
Infectonator: Survivors has undergone several instances of change, where some change was needed, but a lot of it was unnecessary, leaving huge gaps where the original development road map has been left untouched. For example, perks for each survivor were originally planned, but due to unnecessary tweaking of everything else, such as dynamic lighting, exploration maps (which are tedious) and general make overs for things such as grass (yes, that actually happened), the perks were only introduced a few updates ago, which was a core feature promised at the very beginning of the title in progress. I feel the game has had a rough ride, where the original concept of the game has gotten lost in the minefield that is trying to please everyone. The developers welcome ideas, and actively respond to comments in the forums, but instead of sticking to their plans, and maybe introducing a thing or two down the road that could have been optional, they took ideas from the forums which were ill conceived and implemented without much forethought. It’s nice to know you have a voice, but if that voice is stark raving mad, then you probably shouldn’t listen to it. Part of the problem with the game now is pacing, where it originally paced quite nicely, where you could level up your survivors, obtain good enough equipment to survive until you fixed the car, you now have the issue where trying to do anything takes too long. Research used to be simple, you stick survivors with high research or building skills into a project, use fuel to boost it, and there you go. It now requires you to wait in real time for a project to be completed, although you can still use fuel to boost their efforts, but fuel is in such short supply, that you will never use it for research, since you need a certain amount of fuel in order to use the car to the next area.
Another issue is difficulty. Originally, the game was a little on the easy side, then it went WAY too far and made it almost impossible to play, and now it just doesn’t feel balanced. Sometimes you get off lightly and fight nothing, and other levels you fight way too many zombies at once. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium, and bosses seem random to come by. The latest update gives the player a chance to avoid a fight, but its calculated under the hood. I found a level where a boss should have been, only to find that I avoided the fight entirely, with no zombies to fight whilst I scavenged against the clock. I ended up leaving the area and trying to get the fight again, only to be horded by way too many abnormal zombies, with the boss, and with my characters perhaps under levelled and without an LMG, all 4 bit the dust very quickly.
I think back in 2014, I would have recommended this game, but now – I’d say to give it a miss if you haven’t already tried it.