It would be misleading to say that zombie survival games are having a thing right now. The truth is they've been having a thing for years.
There's perhaps more of an emphasis on the survival part of the equation these days. Last Day Alive from Glu duly combines undead-capping action with a casual game of resource management.
It's been in soft launch for several weeks now, so I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at what it's got in store for us. Hopefully more than a few canned goods.
Point and shoot
I can see how someone would get quite excited after a quick scan of Last Day Alive's app blurb. Third-person PvP zombie shooter action with resource scavenging elements? It'll be like a mobile PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, but with zombies!
Last Day Alive is nothing like that. Rather, it mixes up bite-sized on-rails shooter sections with a standard freemium city-building element.
The gunplay feels reasonably satisfying at this early point, with hefty recoil convincing throwing off your aim and tantalising reload times ramping up the tension.
Outside of these action sections you'll be building up your makeshift town with typical loot-farming structures. Expect wait timers and various currency types.
A little unbalanced
Regardless of how you feel about such mechanics, I would suggest that Glu needs to tweak the balance of the progression system ahead of a full released.
Before long I found that I was essentially locked out of the single player missions until I upgraded my guns, which made progress a bit of a slog.
The gunplay, too, soon seemed engineered to leave me feeling like I never had enough bullets in my clip - or that my guns just plain weren't quite good enough.
It was quite irritating having three zombies munching on my head while I reloaded, despite some fairly accurate shooting on my part. Of course, there's time for Glu to tweak this yet.
Every man for himself
PvP mode pitches you into 1v1 and 2v2 death matches. The gun controls are much the same, but your real life opponents are capable of taking multiple clips worth of damage.
Here you get the ability to move back and forth between several cover points, keeping you safe while you reload. This is helpful for flanking and for hoovering up the special damage-boosting items that spawn in between.
It remains to be seen if there's any extra depth to these PvP battles. They seem quite simplistic at this early point.
That applies to the game as a whole. Right now Last Day Alive is a well-presented if slightly generic casual action game that needs considerable balance tweaking if it's to survive the competition from hordes of similarly themed games.