Corpse Craft: Incident at Weardd Academy mixes real time strategy with block clearing in this charming new zombie game by Tim Conkling and Jon Demos at Three Rings.
When the head of the Weardd Academy's School for Responsible Reanimation mysteriously dies in a fire, the students blame each other and take up sides. They summon up the undead and dispatch them into battle. You start out in the school, then battle on the docks, and eventually make your way to London.
In this action-puzzle hybrid, you are playing a block clearing game the entire time, which represents the building materials to assemble your armies of disambiguation. Each type of undead needs a different combination to reanimate. You have to keep track of building your characters, and strategize by selecting the order and magnitude of your attacks and defenses, while quickly gathering enough blood, flesh and energy to replace your shambling hordes.
On each level, your goal is to destroy the other side's workshop before they destroy yours. The game starts off simple and slow. You soon have to plan a multi-prong attack as your opponents devise tougher and more gruesome creatures like the Flesh Behemoth to thwart your efforts. The later levels include infusions like "blood lust" for speed and "rigor mortis" for strength. When the sun comes up, all creatures in battle die, so don't release too many attackers right before sunrise. But while the sun is up, work furiously fast to gather enough resources to resume the fight when the sun sets again.
Analysis: Corpse Craft has delightful character design. Edward Gorey-esque streetwalkers, exploding dog-boys, and multi armed guards do your bidding with parlor music to accompany you. I especially liked that you have to keep clearing blocks while you deploy your zombies. It can get like a frantic shooter game, although it becomes hard to see what's going on as you are busy clicking away. The more you can accumulate during the day, the more you can watch your glorious little minions at night.
The early levels are pretty easy, but it gets much harder the further you go. I barely made it through the last three levels.
The game saves the level you're on (requires registration), and you can come back and play any level you have already unlocked. There's also a two to four multiplayer version available, in which you have access to all characters and infusions and play single rounds. But you should certainly start with the solo version to see what each character trait does for you.
The game was developed by Three Rings for their site Whirled. If you join Whirled, you will also accumulate a lot of fun trophies like "pressing the flesh," "morbid infection," and "Maledictiorian." You also win coins you can apply to the Whirled universe. If you don't want to join, you will just see a pop up screen that invites you between levels, just click "later." The Whirled site itself is in open beta, so sometimes there are a few glitches. If you find yourself anywhere besides the start of Corpse Craft, you may have to close the "room" you are in and get back to the games menu. I also experienced a lot of lag on the later levels. The developer suggests Firefox 3, and refresh seems to make Flash more happy. There are some other fun games on the Whirled site, which I hope to see featured here in the future. In the meantime,