Shattered Colony: The Survivors


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CassandraShattered Colony: The SurvivorsShoot him, shoot him, shoot... oh god, why do you keep missing? Aren't you a sniper?!... uh, what do you mean you used to be a pizza delivery boy? In Shattered Colony: the Survivors, that's pretty much the best defense you're going to get. In fact, that's the only form of protection you have against the zombie apocalypse: a ragtag group of ill-matched, anonymous survivors who have probably never held a gun in their lives. Addictive, intense and unforgiving, this tower defense game from Jonathan Duerig doesn't really fit the normal definitions of the genre.

For one, you'll only ever get to build four things in this zombie-infested Flash title: barricades, sniper towers, supply depots and workshops. You need to consider your placement of each thing carefully; supplies and ammunition need to be delivered on foot, so place a sniper too far from base and they may become overwhelmed before a runner arrives with assistance. You'll also have to place workshops at the entrances to buildings to scavenge any supplies they might hold. Icons at the top of the screen display all the survivors, boards, and bullets you have, and building something (done by clicking the appropriate icon in the bottom left) requires a certain amount of each resource.

Technically speaking, each of these constructs can be upgraded. You can put more people in the workshops to make things go faster, add boards to the barricades to make them stronger and increase the range and ammo each sniper tower holds. And that's pretty much it; you're not going to get anything else to work with. While other games might throw a variety of mutant zombies at you, Shattered Colony only has the slow, shambling and stupid variety. Holed up inside abandoned buildings and scattered throughout the city, zombies will not approach you unless you engage in construction too close to them or fire randomly in the immediate vicinity. It's all about holding out as long as you can, and learning to construct your network of survivors for your best advantage.

In some strange way, the spartan features are really what make the game shine. Shattered Colony doesn't want you to craft the world's most impenetrable maze of defenses. It wants you to survive. Everything in Shattered Colony is finite. (Except for the gameplay, considering the presence of a map editor.) Each decision you make is vital. Do you waste those bullets picking off that lone zombie or wait for it to arrive in a pack with everyone else? Do you invest everything in one sniper tower or are you willing to risk building another two? Each choice you make is likely to come back to haunt you. Strangely realistic and visceral in a top down, cartoony sort of way, there's no better feeling than when you've finally survived to the end. Of course, there's nothing more depressing than realizing you're out of bullets when the zombies finally break down your barricades.

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16 Comments

I've been playing this for a little while now, I thought I'd seen this on JIG before, but if not, glad to see it's been picked up for review. Fun little game, imo. The ability to make custom maps really adds to the fun factor.

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Fun. One complaint, though: Why isn't there a fast-forward button???

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This was pretty fun at first, but I was expecting more challenge. At a certain point, it's more challenging to manage your people and quotas than survive the zombies. With enough people in a tower, you'll run out of zombies before you run out of bullets, easily. I really liked how you could fortify barricades with extra wood, though I didn't end up using them much.

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fairly easy. just set up a sniper, max out the people, and remove uneeded depots. on the second to last level all you do is stay where you are till all resources are gone, then slowly move up, you only need one sniper and no barricades.

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Very nice game,
I played for about an hour before getting bored.

The problem with the game is how you can just put 10 survivors in one tower and get close to 100% accuracy. That alone made the game super easy, i didnt need to use barricades even once.

The pace of the game is a bit slow too.

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It's a good game, but before more updates/expansions show up, one or two fully upgraded sniper(s) is all you need.

It's fun for a while, but the lack of variety makes it a bit dull after a few hours. But until then, it's a good game :P

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A couple of people think the game could go a bit faster, but I'm having the opposite problem. At first, the game would randomly go into fast forward and then switch back a few clicks later. I never did figure out why. Then the game just took off at a ridiculous speed, and I couldn't find a way to slow it down again. Is there a control somewhere I'm hitting that I don't see? Otherwise, I love the game.

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Overall this is a very fair game where most game mechanic things are well thought over. It can give you some interesting hours - for those seeking a strategy challenge, try "the death trap", from the custom maps. Took me several dozen tries until I mastered it. And contrary to the campaign it requires you to really use barricades!

I'd describe the game as a mixture between Zombie Apocalypse, the Settlers and the Space game.

However, I sure have a wish: Workshops are by default only catered for by 1 Survivor. Even when there are several that have nothing to do. That's bad micro management for me. Most times instead of specifying exactly how many people should be where, I'd rather give it priorities like max, everyone here! (for snipers), important everyone not in a max go here, shared, everyone not in a max or important spread on this, and none, go away from here.

For upgrading the button is often gray and i have to hover above it to become green, just let me register i want to upgrade the structure right away!

IMHO it would be fair to see which resources are in a location, after all you can build a depot line, a workshop look and abondono the line.

About the theme, you know I'm no fan of the zombie theme - 9 of 10 zombie games its IMHO just a lame excuse to not come with a remotely original story line. And it is politically laden with freedom of arms. So far the game as well be just be yellow squares that shoot at blue circles:
This is I suppose also why the campaign is so short (I thought I finished the tutorial when I was through it!). If you come up with an more interesting story containing at least one of the usual literature elements: conflict, trust, betrayal, hate, love, any emotions, etc. you can easily make a larger campaign out of it, with more goal requirements - here also the classical catch the "flag" (any story relevant object), hold the base, protect, escort, etc.

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Every once in a while I'll build a sniper tower that isn't able to shoot. It will have people and ammo, and yet it still can't shoot. Any idea why? I didn't select the "forbid to shoot" button.

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This game suffers some serious obfuscations of the supply chain process. If one of my depots reports having fifteen people available, I have two sniper towers utilizing one apiece and the quota for the depot is only set to one, why am I told I have a negative number of people free at the top of the screen? What are they doing, taking a smoke break? And why do people start scurrying to locations I raise the quota for despite there not being enough of them for this to be possible, according to the top readout?

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Tilde (~) is an undocumented fast-forward feature.

I like the random maps. You can't just hold your position. You have to take out the bridges. More zombies spawn each time, so you can't waste time.

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To toggle "fast mode" on and off (it seems to run 2 to 3 times faster than normal), press the tilde (`) key, to the left of the 1 key.

This doesn't seem to be documented anywhere. I did this by accident once and didn't realize what I had pressed. I figured it out later.

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I played this for a bit, and while it was enjoyable, I ran into the same logistic problems Lev had. I might, for instance, have 500 boards free but be unable to upgrade for some unknown reason, even though there are survivors and boards in the depot for a tower. Or I'm trying to build quickly but it never happens despite my high levels of resources. At other times I had several resource spots, and when I put a workshop on them, nothing gets gathered. Even after I see people running to the depot for it, and I eliminated everything else and even rebuilt the workshop(s).
The end result is that the game gets frustratingly harder near the end. You usually need to put all your defensive resources quickly into one last area, and more and more zombies are coming at you from there, but you simply can't do that as there's no proper way to order units.

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I'm trying to create a map using the map editor, but can't figure out how to make cars. Anybody know how to do this?

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This is brilliant. The game is ultimately about building an elastic network. Each structure is a node and the assigned people represent the tension between the nodes. In the end the network looks like a representation of springs - if you suddenly pull on one end of the spring (by trying to quickly build a turret at the edge of the network) the tension can be so high that the network takes time to readjust. Once I started seeing the game this way I got over the frustration that I initially felt.

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grandadd Author Profile Page June 5, 2012 1:21 PM

A great game.

Two things that made the game winnable, that were not intuitive to me, both regarding resupplying.

1.

New, further out snipers/depots will not supply themselves readily if the supply chain is too long. I've taken to fleeing from old depots I do not use anymore. The only downside is that any snipers I leave in the old area will not be resupplied. However unsupplied old snipers are usually not a big deal.

2.

I would always run out of boards and bullets until I realized that I could build workshops on depots and snipers I had fled from. The supplies are shown as boxes. I build a workshop to reclaim the supplies, sometimes hundreds of boards or bullets in one otherwise unremarkable former depot. If I have surplus survivors, I max them out so the workshop quickly clears the supplies. This rinse and repeat process can get tedious, however. But as I wrote above, it speeds up the resupply to snipers where they need it the most.

One final thought: I agree that many times barricades are not needed. However, I have found them useful at bottlenecks (ie roads from one island to another) to support my only sniper. Usually I am trying to

extract boards/bullets from a given area, or shutting down the same workshops. Also taking supplies from old depots/snipers

when I am relying on just one sniper (who is always maxed out for 11 of 11 survivors.

Like the one poster said above, I see similarities with The Space Game. I see survivors replacing energy.

This game is just a lot of fun. It is really great. Much love.

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