New Zealand’s biggest game development and publishing studio PikPok Games has arrived in Melbourne for PAX Aus 2023, showcasing a demo of their upcoming game Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days. I was fortunate enough to play the demo, which left me eager for more (in the best possible way).
Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days is a side-scrolling zombie survival game set in the overrun streets of Walton, Texas in the 1980s. Players control survivors who must scavenge for supplies, craft weapons, and build up defences to survive against the plague of zombies threatening humanity.
Previously the Into the Dead series was a first-person shooter combined with the endless runner genre (think Temple Run). Our Darkest Days retires that format and adapts a 2.5D sidescrolling allowing for fresh and captivating gameplay bringing the series to new heights.
In the demo, I surveyed two different locations in Walton, Texas. Locations are travelled to via a town map which shows the zombie density of each location, allowing you to prepare for how difficult your outing will be. The first location I explored was a suburban neighbourhood, where my task was to scavenge for supplies. There weren’t many enemy encounters in this location, but this allowed me to grasp the controls, which will be very easy for players to pick up.
The next location I explored was a police precinct, which provided me with some of the most high-tension gameplay I have ever experienced in a video game. You only get a peek of the next room before you enter it, some rooms were empty, and some rooms were full of the undead. One room in the precinct was filled to the brim with zombies, which gave me the most terrifying task of sneaking past them without being seen or heard.
In my 20 minutes with the game, I died two times, and almost a third. It was brutal. Once a survivor is killed, they are gone, and their corpse remains in the world available for you to loot as a new survivor. Running away or fighting are both options. You will find it difficult to survive a fight with a horde of zombies, so encounters should be strategised. Approaching combat stealthily worked the best for me, but it’s all up to the player’s playstyle. I got to use a handful of melee weapons in the demo which have durability levels, adding even more tension to the game. I did pick up a rifle, but it needed to be repaired so I’m excited to see how the gunplay will be once the game hits early access in 2024.
Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days is a game any survivor-horror fan should keep an eye on. Bringing a fresh new take on a genre that can be difficult to stand out in. I look forward to checking out the game again next year.
Watch the Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days – Announcement Trailer: