Since it came out on the 29th October, I’ve been playing quite a lot of The Typing of the Dead: Overkill. I never played the original one, but since this has got me kind of hooked I thought I’d do a little review.
The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is a first-person arcade shooter, set in a zombie (or, as one of the characters insists they’re called, ‘mutants’) apocalypse. Rather than using a mouse to aim at the zombies, however, each opponent has a word or phrase that you need to type to kill them. These range from simple short words such as ‘agile’ to phrases such as ‘Emergency Procedure’ and even medical terminology like ‘agoraphobia’ and ‘oesophagus’. It’s an exercise in speed-typing, especially given how quickly some of the zombies are on you, and the complexity of some of the phrases. Quick-time sequences punctuate the game to keep things varied, and the whole mechanic works really well. It’s enjoyable, different to anything else I’ve played and challenging in its own way (though whether it helps my typing speed at work or not will have to be seen!). I could be reading too much into it, but there certainly seem to be various pop culture references – I’ve had to type phrases such as ‘You’ve got red on you’, ‘Neurotoxin’ and ‘I am your father’ which is a nice touch. Finally, what really made this for me was the dictionary option – yes, you can choose English (UK) as a language! :)
One of my fond memories of my childhood was going to the local Lazer Quest with my brother and friends and, in between rounds, playing on the arcade machines there – games such as Time Crisis and House of the Dead. The Typing of the Dead: Overkill plays off a lot of these older games in its style and design, which already brings a nostalgic smile to my face when playing it. On that note, I actually quite like the awful corny dialogue and plot of the game, since again it’s very reminiscent of the games I remember playing years ago.
Having said that, there is still work to be done. The game was made by a very small team on a low budget with a short deadline so it’s understandable that there will be bugs. However, despite hearing about people who can’t even get the game to launch I personally haven’t had any major graphical problems with it, and am looking forward to the promised upcoming co-op addon. The option for custom dictionaries should, once released, also help with the replay value of the game – I’m personally hoping that they might even have an option for custom user dictionaries (Malifaux-related terms would be great, for example!).
All in all, it’s certainly worth giving it a go, particularly if you’ve enjoyed classic arcade games before. It’s not going to win any awards for story or dialogue and yes, there’s still some graphics that need fixing, but all in all it’s a fun game that’s different from anything else on Steam and delivers what it promises.