I adore Real Time Strategy games. The top-down view of the battlefield, resource management and preparing long-term strategies is kinda ‘my thing’. Even my editor said so. That’s why they asked me to do this review.
Marz Rising looks every bit the AAA RTS game. You have your good solid voice work, your deep story with multiple objectives for each mission and most important – an unrelenting enemy. However, there’s one difference between this and every other RTS game. 99.9% of ‘normal’ RTS games have their own single antagonist, be that Kane, the Grey Goo, etc, with their own strategies, motives, and objectives.
This game does not have that. This game has ZOMBIES.
I just wanna let that sink in…ZOMBIES!!!!!
Developer ‘Door Forty Four’ have decided to do something that has only been attempted, possibly, twice before, at least that this reviewer could find evidence of. A zombie real-time strategy game.
OK, let’s go over the basics. The title shows a beautiful vista of Mars with a simple menu. You hit ‘New Game’ and get thrown straight into the story with background about why you’re here, what you need to do, and how you’re going to do it. I won’t give any spoilers here, but the ideas put across are… intriguing.
You then go to do your first mission, the tutorial. This is where Marz Rising shows its true colors. You are told where the zombies could come from, where your resources are, what you have to do and how many people you have to work with. However, you have no time to think up a clever strategy. As soon as your lander touches down, you have to assume that the zombies are on their way and that they’ve heard fresh meat is on the menu.
At this point, you are introduced to the tactical screen controls. As you may know, RTS controls have been pretty standard for many years. Go back in time to the original Command and Conquer and you will see the same side panel that is the staple for RTS’s today. Simple, clean, effective.
Marz Rising does away with that and replaces it with a system which feels a little odd, to begin with, but is designed to make ‘on the fly’ decision-making easier. Zombie about to attack? Want to build a gun tower to kill it? Then click on the power hub you wish to power the tower with, and click on the bullet symbol. Then place the tower, and whilst it’s building, send a crew member to man it. Simple!
Zombie not dying fast enough? Then click on the gun tower and click on the upgrade button. After a few seconds, you have a more powerful gun tower. Still simple, and all without leaving the action.
Where Marz Rising differs from every other RTS is in its choice of the antagonist. By choosing zombies, they have taken strategy out of the equation. Zombies don’t care about injuries or casualties. Zombies don’t care about dying (again). Zombies don’t care about tactics or strategies.
ZOMBIES DON’T CARE.
Door Forty Four have done something unique. In creating a zombie RTS, what they have done is possibly created the first Real-Time-Crisis-Management (RTCM) game.
If you hadn’t guessed it by now, I think Marz Rising is one of the best games of this year, and I urge all RTS fans to give it a try.
MarZ Rising is available on Steam