I’d be surprised if a game has ever been shown in the Indie section of a PAX expo with as much history as The Last Stand: Aftermath. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Aftermath is the fifth entry in a series that debuted as a Flash game over 10 years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever written about a game in this context that has its own Fandom Wiki. Looking back at the series’ instalments, Aftermath appears to be the culmination of everything that developer Chris Condon has been trying to accomplish for 12 years, and while it’s still early days he looks primed to achieve it.

“You are already dead. The infection has you.” Zombie tropes might already be a little played out in 2018, but given the unique “already infected” twist on the formula, the elevator pitch had me hooked right from the start. Aftermath is an isometric action-survival in which your character has been exiled from Union City due to their infection, and must spend their last days trying to do what they can beyond the city walls, to make the world a better place for those they are leaving behind. “Inevitable demise” is an unavoidable theme; death is inevitable for all of us, but for those of us infected with a horrible zombie virus pushed out of safety and into the zombie territory, it’ll come sooner than most. Condon described it to me as “actual survival,” although with death being unavoidable it feels like “actual acceptance” is a more fitting descriptor.

Death is permanent, but not punishing. When one player character dies, they’re gone forever, but items persist across characters. A lingering death clock reminds the player just how much time they have left–given they don’t succumb to a more violent fate first. Storylines are still being written and implemented, unravelling with the environment as the character moves further and further away from the city limits. As time passes, the infection mutates, changing the character’s abilities on the fly.

Aftermath takes inspiration from the permadeath features of criminally underrated ZombiU, the exploration and graphical stylings of Diablo 3 and the original two Fallout games, and from beyond video games with 28 Days Later. It was one of the most eye-catching games at the expo, particularly amongst the indie games, with its isometric realism genuinely standing out from lots of heavily stylised and colourful neighbours (that’s not a sentence I thought I’d write five years ago.)

Whether you’re a Last Stand veteran or just want to remind yourself of your inevitable mortality, The Last Stand: Aftermath is about one year away, planned for a mid 2019 Early Access launch. Stay tuned on their website here.

About The Author

Matt has been playing video games and listening to music for too long. He accidentally started a website and now has to pretend that he’s got an idea as to what he’s doing. He neglects the games he’s meant to be reviewing and instead plays Dota 2 and Football Manager. Shameless Nintendo fanboy. Direct your complaints to @mattmcleod27.