Dec 10, 2013

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Chainsaw Warrior Review

Chainsaw Warrior Review


If there’s anything that console and PC RPGs can’t do, it is that they can’t emulate tabletop games. Video games are frequently restricted due to what is programmable, a prescribed set of options or binary choices.  Tabletop gaming is free and seemingly unlimited.  While video games haven’t reached this level, Chainsaw Warrior has come pretty close.  The degree of customization and random combination of encounters makes for a very involved and enjoyable experience.

Chainsaw Warrior for the PC and iOS is a digital adaptation of the original board game.  The game is set in an abandoned New York and the player must find his/her way through a zombie and monster filled maze made up of a 54-card deck.  The player is given an hour to navigate this maze.  You are tasked with defeating an entity known only as Darkness.  Failure to kill Darkness is determined if you run out of time, die of your injuries, or succumb to radiation poisoning or zombie poison.  Thus, the goal is to survive as long as you can.

From the outset, it emulates that tabletop board/card game style.  You immediately find yourself rolling dice to determine your Chainsaw Warrior character’s attributes.  Suffice it to say that low rolls will see you playing a considerably hard game but getting high attributes doesn’t necessarily guarantee an easy game either.  Fortunately, the customization doesn’t end there as you’re immediately taken to the armory to choose what weapons to take with you on your journey and of course the Chainsaw is a requirement with all other weapons being optional.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take all the weapons with you as the game places a limit on the amount of weapons you can carry.  Thankfully, the types of weapons you’ll be able to take with you are diverse, ranging from knives to lasers to grenades to armor and many more.


When starting the main game, you have sixty minute to complete the game.  Fortunately, this game doesn’t unfold in conventional time.  The enemies you encounter will eat up that time.  The more you engage an enemy, the more time the encounter will eat up.  When engaging an enemy, the outcome of each encounter is determined by the roll of the dice.  Low rolls will see you pay by incurring more damage as well as eating up more time on the clock. However, high rolls aren’t enough to guarantee success.  The harder the enemy, the higher you will have to roll to defeat them.  Of course, the roll of the dice is randomized.  You will find yourself rolling as many values as roll values.  However, you will also find instances in which you find yourself consistently rolling high values or consistently rolling low values, adding more joy or more frustration, respectively, to your experience.

Unfortunately, the frustrations of this game both begin and end at the role of the dice in that this is the only game mode.  There aren’t any new game modes for the mobile or PC versions so there’s no diversity to the gameplay.   It’s basically just the gamer rolling through a 54-card deck.  Thus, the game is good on the go but doesn’t hold up if you’re looking for a game to play for a sustained period of time.  As mentioned before, the gameplay lasts anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two. Also, in the way of the PC version vs. the mobile (iOS or Android), there’s no difference except the point and click vs. touch screen interface.

Being adapted from a card game, the gameplay takes place in the manner of drawing cards.  As such, there is not much to speak of in the way of 3D graphics other than the rolling of the dice.  However, the sharp appearance of the game on both platforms really enhances that feeling of tabletop gaming.  However, the game looks a lot better on PC with a higher resolution than the iOS or Android versions. In terms of sound, there’s not much as well.  Different sound effects correspond to the killing zombies with different weapons like the laser, chainsaw, knife, grenade etc. as well as the rolling of the dice, which sounds the same in every instance you roll them.


There’s no story here apart from the prologue that establishes the setting of the game as post-zombie apocalypse.  Each session can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two depending on how long you’re willing to play each session.  There is a certain amount of luck involved as well but due to the level of customization in this game, you have a degree of confidence when facing off against your enemies.  The complexity of customization mixed with the simplicity of gameplay make for a fun gaming experience when you’re on the go.  However, despite the fun this direct adaptation from the board game, and, as such a lot of the gameplay still depends on imagination despite some of the animations and sounds.  That said, gamers new and old to the tabletop genre will find some fun in Chainsaw Warrior despite its missteps and frustrations.  At $4.99, Chainsaw Warrior is about the amount of fun it’s worth and a little bit more.

Chainsaw Warrior
Platform: Android, iOS, PC
Genre: Card, Dice
Release Date: September 23, 2013
Developer: Auroch Digital Limited
Publisher: Auroch Digital Limited
ESRB Rating:9+ (iOS), E10+ (PC)
MSRP: $4.99