Wednesday, 29 May 2019 05:16

Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape Early Access Review

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Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape, developed by TALLBOYS and tinyBuild, is an action-packed multiplayer game recently released for Early Access. A mix of the zombie escape and first-person shooter genres, you spawn with up to thirty players inside of a train station, where one person is randomly turned into a zombie. As a survivor, your main task is to escape on the train. If you’ve been turned, your main goal is simple: infect everyone still alive.


In your effort to outrun, shoot, and escape the zombified players, you’ll likely be killed or eaten at some point in the process. Unlike most titles, where death is simply the end of the line, any untimely demise you meet will turn you into a zombie, dropping you right back in as an asset for the undead team. Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape throws the boring nature of spectating each match after death out the window and allows you to keep playing right up until the very end. This is easily one of the best and most refreshing aspects, as it keeps the thrill of the fight alive throughout the whole experience. Whether you’ve managed to stay alive and are struggling to defend the train, or if you’ve been turned and are eagerly trying to tear the flesh off every living player, you always have a hand in the outcome of each match.


In any team-based gameplay, balancing the powers and abilities of both sides is an important aspect and in the humans versus zombies battle, the flesh-eating team is significantly overpowered. Zombies are given far more abilities than the humans, and seem much harder to defeat overall. While humans can use guns and restore their health at vending machines, zombies can respawn and head right back into the action after they’re killed, can throw exploding barrels, can see where the living players are at all times, and are given special abilities once their meter is full. Specifically, you can choose between the ability to become invisible or the ability to explode, both of which have serious advantages against the humans.

The exploding ability, in particular, feels incredibly overpowered at the moment. You can arm your bomb, drop down onto the train from the spawn point, and easily kill four or five humans upon detonation in one fell swoop. While there’s no denying it is rather satisfying to take out that many players in a blaze of fiery destruction, the human team doesn’t really have any abilities to balance it out or even the stakes. Zombies won by a long shot in the majority of the games I played, with only a rare few matches of humans scraping by on top. The explosions themselves can also cause quite a bit of lag, which is increasingly exacerbated by multiple zombies exploding at the same time.


From the locked options on the main title screen, it is clear that the developers have multiple features and different escape modes planned, and there is definitely some future potential there.

That said, there is only a warm-up mode and an escape-by-train mode at this moment in Early Access. Though the escape mode is fun and runs relatively well, apart from some lag and the expected early-on glitches, there isn’t much variety in play style overall. On top of this, there is currently no character customization, which might make it hard for you or your friends to stand out from one another.


The Verdict: Fair

Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape is a fun and refreshing mix of the zombie escape and first-person shooter genres, but it does need to iron out the power dynamics between zombies and humans for a more balanced and challenging gameplay. Though it is slightly barebones at this point in Early Access, it definitely has the potential to be a unique and impressive addition to the world of multiplayer zombie games.

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Jade Swann

Jade Swann is an avid video game player and fiction writer. She loves getting lost in open-world RPG’s, making tough choices in story-driven games, and is a big fan of the horror genre. Some of her favorite games include Fallout 3, Fallout 4, Skyrim, Planet Coaster, and The Sims 4. When not immersed in the world of video games, she can be found reading, writing, or spending time with her very lazy Boston Terrier.