By July 22, 2013

Zombicide Survivor Helper App Review

We love playing Zombicide with our friends. The game supports up to six players (we’ve played with nine players after modifying things a bit). The game is a big hit.

One of the things we don’t like about the game is managing the character cards. There are two big reasons to interact with your character’s card. One is to move your experience counter up every time you kill a zombie or take an objective. This happens frequently. The other way you fiddle with your character card is when you add, move, or drop equipment. This happens less frequently, but the order of your cards is important.

The experience slider is best manipulated by picking the card up and moving the slider along the top edge of the card. The problem with this is that it dumps your inventory onto the table. Things get even worse when your character levels up to the orange and red threat levels and you have to choose special abilities.

Enter the free Zombicide survivor helper app. It’s available for Android and iOS tablets for freeeee.

It’s mostly awesome, especially once you get past a few quirks.

Screenshot_2013-07-22-19-04-06

As of this writing, the Zombicide app supports all of the default characters as well as the bonus characters that shipped in the “first wave,” meaning:

  • Josh
  • Amy
  • Wanda
  • Phil
  • Doug
  • Ned
  • El Cholo
  • Nick
  • Dave

The “second wave” characters like Eagle and Marvin are not included in the app. I expected Twisted Key Entertainment to release an update, but the big expansion of Zombicide just shipped and I expect they’re waiting to release all of the newer characters along with the “second wave” survivors at the same time.

The app is very tactile, which makes for an easy interface. Drag and drop cards from the inventory stack (red cards, bottom left of the screen) onto your character. You can move items in your inventory by dragging them around.

The app can “roll” the appropriate number of dice and will let you know if you hit or not, but we use real dice.

The app also handles combination items as well, such as the sniper rifle (rifle + scope) or Molotov cocktails (gas + glass bottles). Just drag the two items on top of each other. Boom.

One downside to the drag and drop setup of the app is that it’s easy to over-ride items in your inventory just by dropping new items on top of old ones. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to put an item like the flashlight into your reserve inventory space.

Screenshot_2013-07-22-19-04-28
Dragging and dropping can be rewarding or frustrating depending on how close a zombie is to biting your fucking face off.

The app can control up to six characters. This is awesome! One person with a tablet can run the whole group, or people can run their own characters if there are enough tablets to go around. Our usual group has two Nexus 7, two rooted Kindle Fires, a full-sized iPad and an iPad Mini.

One thing I dislike about the app is trading between characters. If I have multiple characters running in one app it should be easier to trade between them. Right now you have to delete the item from one character, page to another character, and then drag the item into their inventory. There’s no easy way to select characters; you have to go in sequential order based on how you selected them.

The app, at least the Android version with which I am the most familiar, has acceptable battery drain. It eats about a third of my Nexus 7’s battery during a two hour play session. The tablet is on almost constantly during that period, and I’m counting off each character’s actions, managing their inventory, and running up experience points. I assume the iOS version does not have such a big impact on battery life, because, well, it’s iOS.

Players have commented that running their own character cards keeps them more in-tune with what’s going on with their characters. About three play sessions in everyone ran a physical version of their character cards sans XP tracking. This seemed to strike a decent balance between letting the app handle the annoying parts but still keeping a grip on what’s happening.

The app is free and is VERY handy for keeping track of the characters.

Download the Android version or the iOS version. Tablets only! Sorry, big ass Android phones 🙁

Strongly recommended

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Posted in: games, review, zombies

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