“Brains, Brains, Braiiiins…!”
The concept of flesh-eating, head chomping, rotting, mummified zombies has come a long way since the crazy yet popular days of poorly rendered CGIs. They are present in every conceivable genre, be it movies, T.V. series, games, cartoons, and the list goes on.
Game developers and movie producers are veering towards absurdism to impress the viewers. Long gone are the days of heart-wrenching anguish and cowering beneath the sheets when the ill-fated protagonist finally succumbs to a horde of flesh-eating monstrosities. The idea has been beaten, bruised, killed, buried, revived, and finally trivialized to a point where the brain-loving undead with a taste for human flesh isn’t even scary anymore.
In a world full of petty jump scares, unnecessary gore, and obvious fan service elements (Everyone knows Resident Evil 8 broke the internet), Last Stand is a messiah that’ll hopefully redeem the zombie genre back to its former glory.
Gameplay and Objective
Last Stand Aftermath is a post-apocalyptic, survival rogue-lite developed by Con Artist Games and published by Armor Games Studios. It’s a top-down action-adventure game where you pick a ‘survivor’ and venture out into the unknown ruins of civilization in search of fuel and supplies for the last vestiges of the human race.
However, unlike other zombie games, you’re infected and only have a few more days to live. The only way you survive is by slowing down the infection with a special medication which you can also find during supply runs (since you’re going to die anyway, why not spend what time you have left for the betterment of the ‘The Colony’).
Since Aftermath has quite the learning curve, it’s best played on a controller, which makes it way easier to navigate the character. So without further ado, let’s brush up on those zombie-killing skills of yours.
Exploration Tips: How to make the most of your runs?
The game has several interactable objects. Always go around the stage and make sure to have opened every car hood and garbage can before moving on to the next one.
- Aftermath also has a crafting mechanic you can use to combine different items and expand your overall item collection. For instance, you can combine alcohol and a rag to create a molotov cocktail.
- Sneak and fight your way through a dangerous and apocalyptic wasteland. Pick your fights carefully. Weapons have durability, and bullets are numbered. You do not have to clear the entire map of zombies. All you need is the loot. Use throwable objects such as a brick to distract them, salvage everything, and escape.
- On some items, you’ll find information that is useful to you and The Colony. Discovering them grants you knowledge points that you can use in radio stations to research permanent upgrades for Volunteers, such as increased stamina, health, etc. Even if you die, the knowledge points are passed on to the next volunteer.
- Entering focus mode reveals all the key buildings on the map, such as the radio tower, H.E.R.C. structures (antiviral dispensers), bunkers, etc.
- Don’t carry a ton of heavy items because there is a weight penalty. Your max stamina decreases the heavier you get, so make sure you have enough left for a quick escape.
Combat tips: To fight or not to fight?
- The Last Stand: Aftermath may be a rogue-lite, but it’s different from the usual hack and slash games you see in the genre. You can quickly exhaust your resources if you’re not careful. Even melee weapons such as hammers and wrenches can be used a specific number of times before they get destroyed.
- Get the lay of the land before engaging the enemy. Crouching prevents the zombies from noticing you right away. Use this to your advantage and look around for vantage points that let you investigate the surroundings without getting spotted.
- The game is still under development, so the viewing angles are not that great. You can hurt yourself with weapons such as the grenade launcher, so make sure there isn’t a wall or an obstacle in your way when firing explosive items…
- To do a quick reload, hit the reload button when the pointer reaches the small green area on the progress bar.
- Make sure you are never overwhelmed. Zombies in Aftermath are not that aggro. Even the big ones don’t charge you indefinitely. They may be hard to kill, but you can lose them by escaping their vision.
- Always keep moving and avoid group confrontations. Try to pick them off one by one by kiting them away from the pack.
- Roll over instead of running away. It may cost a bit of stamina, but you cannot get hit while rolling.
Mutation tips: Power at the cost of your life
- Since all volunteers are infected, you will die eventually.
- The infected bar gradually grows and eats up your max health. For every full stack of infections, you get to pick one of three mutations. These are special abilities that make you more powerful but at the cost of your max health. Some mutations even come with side effects. For instance, the Strength mutation grants +50% melee damage but -25% stamina. Bloodlust grants +25% melee damage but no side effects.
- Antiviral injections temporarily stop the process, but they are not a permanent cure.
Pro Tip: Don’t use antiviral injections right away (unless you find a second injection because you can only carry one at a time). Wait until you get at least one to two mutations.
- Do not buy ammo, drops, or caches from the supply depot. You can get plenty of those while scavenging. It is better to just hoard the supply points until you get a bit better at the game. The best thing you can buy is the Tier 1- Knowledge pack, as they provide permanent buffs to your volunteers.
Last Stand Aftermath is one of the better zombie games and a truly challenging rogue-lite that delivers a dreadful bone-chilling experience in a well-designed post-apocalyptic environment. You can feel the fear and apprehension crawling beneath your skin as you set foot in the game.
The developers did a great job, and the demo is free. Head over to Steam and give it a try. We can’t wait to hear from you, so feel free to comment on your experiences below. Happy hunting!