Game: Zafehouse Diaries
Summary: Plays like Rebuild, not for everybody
Rating (5/10 = failure): 8
Completion: 10 hrs
Cost: ~0.5 USD bundled
Zafehouse is a fascinating game (to me). Those that have played the excellent Flash game, Rebuild, will get the basic idea - you have a small group of survivors and you spend turns trying to survive and win. Standing in your way are ever-increasing hordes of zombies (depicted with their dazzling animation of... a still-frame blood splatter) and your survivors who snap at each other because of their race, gender, and music-playing.
All games are randomly generated. With three modes of gameplay, the replay value is good. Be prepared to lose the first few games, as there is a lot to absorb, and the fact that your survivors are ravenously hungry, fragile and dumb. With the default settings, the game is indeed quite difficult, but learning what's worth the risk and what isn't is part of the fun.
The interface is rather minimalistic. As best I can tell there are less than 10 screens in the whole game! For the most part it does its job. For a good few hours I didn't know how to breach or assault a place because there's no tutorial and I didn't know you could click on the tabs up top on the investigation screen. There's an online manual, but who clicks on that?
The ability to customize your own survivors with your own photos is a nice touch. I appreciate that a lot, as I was a lot more connected to the survivors with my own pictures. You can also create custom jobs, but this is very easy to abuse and makes the game far too easy if used (and consequently disables achievements). Speaking of achievements, even though I disabled all custom content, I was still unable to get any achievements, so I don't know what's going on there.
All your actions are recorded in a "diary" that can be saved upon game completion, but honestly, those records strike me as... uninteresting. I don't care to reexamine my escapades, nor would I want to read someone else's. It's not a bad feature, but it just feels... I dunno, wasted?
Overall I had a good experience. I'm giving it an 8/10, knocking points for its almost lazy interface, occasional events with no positive outcome, and incredibly dumb survivors in a life-or-death situation. The big question is, is it fun? Even after completion, I went back to play it some more. That's not something I can say for many games these days.