Full disclosure: I was contacted by the devs of Zombasite and sent a free Steam key. This write-up is based on about 4 hours with the game.
Zombasite is a Diablo-like game with some interesting and often confusing systems layers on top. It’s also an indie game, meaning the graphics aren’t amazing. It’s currently in beta for $19.99, though a free demo exists.
I’m not a huge ARPG (Diablo-clones) fan overall. I’ve played a bunch of them, but too often the ‘click click click’ gameplay bores me far too soon, and I don’t really enjoy farming the same content for better gear in a single-player game. At its core, that’s what Zombasite is, you click-click-click through waves of enemies in different areas and dungeons and collect gear of different colors/flavors. It has multiple classes, those classes have multiple skill trees, you get skill points as you level up, etc etc.
The big ‘twist’ in Zombasite aren’t the zombies though, but the fact that you are the leader of a clan (small village), and you can recruit more members and send people out to hunt for food, gather supplies, or just adventure for gear/xp. It also means the first ‘zone’ you start in is your home base, and that base can be attacked.
Tying into the whole clan thing are other clans, which you can befriend, go to war, and/or trade with. What kind of clans (races) are in your world is random, as is their location. You also have nemesis enemies, which from what I gather are boss-like mobs that will send attacks at your home clan until you eliminate them. This whole aspect is what separates Zombasite IMO, and it works very well. Finding other clans is interesting, gathering new clan members is cool, and forming a party with who you have recruited or with allied clans puts a good twist on the more traditional ARPG gameplay.
There are also a TON of other systems that add complexity to the game, such as every NPC having different traits and relationships, a crafting system, some town upgrading, etc. It’s clearly a deep game, but I’ve really only scratched the surface so far.
Even as a beta I haven’t run into any bugs or crashes with the game, and perhaps most impressively the game loads up almost instantly to the menu screen, where you are one click away from resuming your game. Maybe its just because I’m also playing Dragon’s Dogma, which takes a solid 3-4 min to get back into playing, but there is something to be said about being able to actually play a game 10sec after you double-click the icon on your desktop.
If there is one big drawback to the game its the graphics. Indie games can’t be expected to look amazing, but at least for me an ARPG does rely more on how it looks than other genres, and nothing in this game really jumps out and impresses or looks particularity memorable, which for me means a quicker path to the click-click repetitiveness feel. Worse still, in some of the environments its very difficult to tell what’s a ‘wall’ or whats just some vegetation you can pass over, to the point that I was often looking more at the minimap to see where I could go instead of the actual game world (dungeons are much better in this regard, and for that reason far more enjoyable). That’s not good. Hopefully as the beta rolls on something can be done to improve this, as I think it will be the biggest thing pushing people away from the game.
If you are in the market for a new ARPG, I’d say give the demo a shot and see if it works for you. I could see this game turning some people away pretty quickly, but I can also see its depth and layered systems sucking people in and really giving them a very deep, interesting experience. I’m going to keep at it for now, because I do want to get a better feel for the interconnected content and how/if it all comes together.