Zombasite, currently in beta from Soldak Entertainment, is the most fun you will have not knowing what it is you're doing.
And before that sounds too much like faint praise, allow me to explain, it is a lot of fun.
Zombasite is an isometric action RPG similar to Soldak's earlier game, Depths of Peril. In it, you control a clan in a small settlement. You and other clans are fighting for control of a world on the brink of total collapse, thanks to a twisted necrotic parasite known as the "Zombasite." While you attempt to keep control of your clan and stop the various members from killing each other whenever they get bored or angry enough, a bar at the bottom slowly rises, showing the growth and infection rate of the parasites.
And so, a desperate struggle emerges between you and the various forces. While clans will try to raid you and your enemies below and above ground will send gruesome monsters to attack you, you also have to protect your clan from zombies and research ways to slow down or stop the parasite. You will find yourself focusing on a billion different systems and subsystems in an attempt to keep your clan from collapsing. Even at the lower difficulty levels, I can tell you it is going to be an uphill battle to keep that from happening. I have put several hours into the game, and trying to do everything at once is going to leave you wandering the wasteland and wondering just how your illustrious clan wound up being two people in a fort with no doors.
But that isn't to say the barrier of entry is all that high. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Zombasite provides its players with many more ways to win than to lose: simply killing all the opposing clans (military victory), having an alliance with the remaining clans left on the map (diplomacy), to completing all the quests on the map. The game also tracks your knowledge and lore about the parasite, making the zombies and infection more manageable as you discover more things about the world. Most enemies are fairly easy to kill early on provided you know what you're doing, while giving you a game experience with a very slow difficulty curve, to its benefit.
The world is also dynamic and persistent. You can start a new game in an already-generated world, with all that would entail, and as you go along, the world will change. Sometimes people will kill your targets before you can get to them. Clans are constantly shifting in alliance and loyalty between each other, and will go out on raids. Your own clanmates have specific weapon and armor preferences, all of which impact how well they'll be able to fend off invasion and join you on raids. Clans may leave you alone, or they might rush full-on towards you, or spawn demon gates, or any number of things. When you pop someone into a new instance of the world, they take up a new region, but use the same lore and other features of the older space.
But while the game is in good form currently, it still has a long way to go before it's out of early access. The systems are a little obtuse, and while the help system is helpful, it's also a row of icons along the bottom of the screen that are easy to miss and don't always contain the most useful of information. The sound design also sometimes borders on oppressive, especially in larger battles. When coupled with a skill system that's obtuse even at the best of times, this can make things incredibly frustrating as enemies skill upward.
Overall, though, I'm looking forward to seeing what Zombasite gets with a full version. It's original, unique, and very complex in spite of its basic trappings, and with a few kinks worked out, should be a new classic.
The Reviewer was given a copy of the game in exchange for this review. The game is still in early access and is subject to change.