All You Need To Know About Dead Island: Survivor - Dead Island's Mobile Spin-Off

By Intan Mawarni on Jul 9, 2018

Even zombies can’t resist of playing this game.
Even zombies can’t resist of playing this game.

It has been four years since Dead Island 2 comedic trailer was revealed in E3 2014 but the sequel is still a no-show based on the recent E3 2018. In fact, Dead Island 2 has been in development limbo for so long after switching developers with Sumo Digital, the creator of Little Big Planet 3 and Crackdown 3 is on deck. The game has been postponed several times as well, without any development whatsoever for the upcoming sequel from the publisher Deep Silver.

As fans have thought that Dead Island 2 might be dead in the water, the publisher announced a mobile spin-off of the series called Dead Island: Survivor last week in a similar comedic flair. While it might seem to be an ongoing trend that every big game franchise is now on mobile, Dead Island: Survivor isn’t exactly following the original game series to a tee.

Instead, the mobile version falls into a category of tower defense mobile games, similar to Plants vs Zombies with a role-playing blend of Dungeon Defenders. Fans of open-world zombie series may recognise some familiar faces from the main series. Players are instructed to fortify the base using strategic traps from incoming hordes. Here’s what you need to know about the latest tropical zombie survivor on mobile:

Instead, the mobile version falls into a category of tower defense mobile games, similar to Plants vs Zombies with a role-playing blend of Dungeon Defenders. Fans of open-world zombie series may recognise some familiar faces from the main series. Players are instructed to fortify the base using strategic traps from incoming hordes. Here’s what you need to know about the latest tropical zombie survivor on mobile:

Barricade your base against the hordes

 If you set up well-placed traps, you don’t have to engage the zombies and let the traps do the job.
If you set up well-placed traps, you don’t have to engage the zombies and let the traps do the job.

In the beginning of every mission, you will be given time to plan out your traps strategically in that area before the next horde approaches. There are many traps you can set to eliminate the horde such as auto-turret, cannon, flamethrowers and may more. The design of the game allows you to take a look on where the horde is going to move, so place your traps accordingly to the red route.

There will be multiple zombie entry points in one area, so keep a watch out and make sure those zombies don’t arrive at the camp door. Your camp has the last defense measure, which is an electrified fence capable of electrocuting zombies for three times before the charges run out. After that, say goodbye to your base.

You can help to defend your base against successions of zombie waves by using your heroes’ skills. Fighting alone is not an option as you can have a companion to fight alongside you, but once you draw your companion cards in a mission, they will be indisposed for several hours unless you use gems, then the hero is readily to use.

Different heroes to fend off zombies

Sam B’s character overview before launching an attack
Sam B’s character overview before launching an attack

As I mentioned before, Dead Island characters will make their appearances in the mobile game along with their key abilities. So far, the game includes nine unique heroes that you can choose from to defend your base. The first character you receive is Sam B, who is a tank that has a temporary shield and equipped with various heavy clubs to knockback zombies. A new character in the series, Marshanda, is a weapon expert who wields a Kris that can slice zombies to million pieces.

Similar to heroes, there is a wide variety of zombies coming your way. To secure the best traps to stop the horde, all zombies have their weaknesses. Simply tap on the zombies icon to know their exact strengths and weaknesses. For example, Resistor zombie can withstand a lot of damage due to its shield, so it’s best to tear off its shield and set up cannon traps to blow the Resistor away.

Tropical islands to discover

There are so many activities to do in one island.
There are so many activities to do in one island.

The progression of the game depends on various islands you will discover called ‘Island Progress’. Inside the ‘Island Progress’, there is a list of objectives that need to be completed in order to travel to other islands. Once you completed the progress line, you will unlock new characters and traps as well as more upgrade cards to become stronger against zombie hordes.

Other than saving survivors on the islands, there are side missions for collecting metal, gems and various loots. These missions are important to undertake because metals are used to construct traps while gems are used to speed up the game’s progression.

Room for improvement

Zombies will move inside the red route, so you have to build traps that can kill zombies in every corner.
Zombies will move inside the red route, so you have to build traps that can kill zombies in every corner.

As a tower strategy game, it frustrates me that I cannot zoom out properly as the tiny map is located on top right of my smartphone’s screen. It would have been better if I could see a bird’s eye view to track the zombie route and all of the traps in one giant outlook. Another problem is the one-tap miscommunication. While it is designed to ease the gameplay, you attack zombies and move around the base using the same tap principle, which can lead to a waste of damaging abilities. Players can accidentally trigger the chief abilities while the horde is not visible in the heroes’ field of vision.

By the way, traps are not the only offensive measure you can count on. Zombies can take damage from fuel barrels and gears placed in surroundings of the horde zones but it’s hard to bait the zombies into a deadly radius. Although there is a narrative element in this mobile game, the voice dialogues only appear at the start of the game and it’s not available for each character as you go further into the game.

In a nutshell, the game is shaping up to be a fun and precise tower defense mobile in a sea of mobile zombie games. For the fans who are religiously waiting for the second game, fret not. Deep Silver tweeted that Dead Island 2 is still in the works and they will give more announcements when it’s ready. Dead Island: Survivor is now available for Android and iOS.

Intan Mawarni
About the Author
Story-driven games like Uncharted and The Last of Us are my favourites. I write and play video games! Yay!
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