Zombies are back in a big way in 2019, and NetEase is leading that particular charge on mobile with LifeAfter. To describe it in a sentence, LifeAfter is Ark if you swapped the dinosaurs for zombies and the island setting for the US countryside.
You play as a survivor of a zombie apocalypse, whose sole objective is to forge a life in this harsh new world. The tutorial teaches you the basics of combat, gathering resources, crafting, and staying out of trouble. The latter is pretty important, as zombies can quickly overwhelm you in LifeAfter, and you won’t have the resources to deal with them right away.
You’ll quite quickly learn that there’s a lot to do in LifeAfter. Much of that involves blasting away at zombie’s heads, possibly even more if it is dedicated to avoiding them. That’s where the crafting system shines, which allows you to craft weapons, tools, ammo, bandages, and defensive structures.
The latter of these includes barricades and the like, and ties into the overarching goal of rebuilding humanity. You’ll strive to find shelter and fellow survivors to help keep it safe. You’ll also butcher zombies to try and make the world a safer place.
It plays a lot like other NetEase games, like Rules of Survival. Expect plenty of visual flourishes, minimal touch controls, and a solid menu structure that isn’t a pain to navigate. In fact, they’re often a joy. The opening menu plays like a first person survival game, with you navigating menus via items on a rustic table. In-game your character actually holds a tablet while deciding what to craft.
You’ll spend most of your time exploring the open world, which is often breathtakingly gorgeous. You’ll chop down trees in forests, sneak through buildings while scouring for resources, and mine for rock on cliffsides.
Then there’s the combat, which includes both melee weapons and guns. Using these, you’ll fend off a wide variety of enemies, from the skulking undead to giant mutated monsters. Each of these has their own weak spot, which you can hit to deal extra damage.
To be negative, there’s a level of jankiness throughout that can break the immersion at times. While many actions are well-animated, others are surprisingly without animations whatsoever.
The combat, while fun, also feels quite lifeless. You’ll shoot zombies in the face and receive no reaction whatsoever, and hitting them with massive melee weapons feels like cutting paper with scissors.
Then there’s the dialogue, which is truly woeful. The developers have gone to the effort of giving you options, which alter the outcome of conversation in a variety of different ways but you’ll just want to skip all dialogue because it’s so poor.