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Shelter Review (iOS)

ShelterEddie was perspiring. No, strike that, he was sweating – like a lobster in a pot. The fate of the entire universe hung on his next decision. Get it right and good prevails, get it wrong and – well, that didn’t even bear thinking about. Should he release his trap hole? Would the Sakuretsu Armour be more effective? “That’s it!” thought Eddie. The answer was staring him in the face like a wide eyed Kuriboh – play possum. “It’s ok, carry on” smirked Eddie. “What!, that’s it? That’s your fecking move? Two hours of deliberation and you do nothing.” Joe was furious. The events that followed this were a bit of a blur to Eddie. He remembered the card table flying up in the air, Joe shouting “Yugi oh this, bitch” and gasps from the audience. The doctors filled in the gaps later at the hospital. Eddie’s over-strategising in the card game had caused one of Joe’s famous temper tantrums that resulted in Eddie receiving three stitches on his face and having six trading cards surgically removed from various orifices. The doctors are hoping he will pass the dice naturally. “Damn” thought Eddie as he sat uncomfortably in his wheelchair, “This would not have happened if I was playing Shelter, the new zombie survival card game for iOS”

As you could guess from my over indulgent waffle, Shelter is indeed a new zombie survival card game from one man indie developer Survivalist Games. Whilst zombies are a hot property right now, card games have always been a bit of a niche genre. It is, however, a match made in strategy heaven. The gameplay takes place on a game board comprising of three rows of five card spaces. There is a row for the player where he places his weapons and a row for the zombies where the successfully summoned zombies are placed. In-between these two rows is a defence or barricade row. This starts off being covered with door cards. The object of the game for the zombies is to destroy these doors and occupy the spaces they have left behind, allowing them to then attack you directly. The object for the player is to destroy the zombies on the table before they attack and remove all of your fifty health points.

ShelterThe gameplay is a turn based affair – the zombies can place various types of zombies on the field provided they meet certain conditions (normally a specific result of a dice roll) whilst the player gets a set number of ability points per turn. These points are spent either placing a card on the field or by activating a card. There are various types of cards at the player’s disposal too. There are the obvious weapon cards which make up the bulk of your cards but there are various modifiers such as armour piercing rounds and scopes. There are also cards which allow you to bank and carry over any unused ability points which is where the strategy comes into play – knowing which card to play at the right time can be crucial to your survival.

Shelter is not just a series of card battles; the game has a full story surrounding them. The game starts with the player receiving a phone call which results in you agreeing to drive 200 miles to meet other survivors. To achieve this, the player needs to find a car, fuel and other supplies. Each of these things are spread out over a map where you have to win a card battle in order to get to collect everything you need thus advancing the story.

ShelterAdding to the gripping story are the graphics. Shelter is presented in the form of a comic. The story is progressed through comic panels complete with description boxes and speech bubbles. Each panel is so beautifully illustrated that one cannot help make comparisons to the Walking Dead graphic novels. The sound of the game does add to this. The soundtrack is a simple piano riff that repeats which adds to the atmosphere of the zombie apocalypse.

Looking at Shelter as a whole should leave you stunned once you realise that this rather addictive and stylish game has been developed by one person. The game currently has a few bugs that can be frustrating but there is a patch on the way. Provided the patch is imminent in its arrival, Shelter is a must have for card game fans. Those looking for a fresh spin on the zombie genre would also do well in checking this out.

3.5 crowbars to the face out of 5

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