The gaming world is awash with zombie games, whether the shuffling undead act as fodder to tear through or games like Stubbs the Zombie, Plants vs. Zombies and Zombie Vikings offer up a different perspective. Despite this variety, there’s still room for some surprise.
Unbread is a metroidvania style game inspired by the likes of Cuphead, Hollow Knight, and Samurai Jack. It’s also all about a zombie trapped in a toaster.
The game is still early in development, coming from Egyptian solo developer Sherif Salama, founder of Ankh Games, and we played a prototype where the aim is race through the level as fast as possible. While it’s a short taster, it does a good job of introducing the different elements of what players will face.
It starts off simply enough, as your zombie (wearing a toaster like a pair of pants) runs through a dark world that shrouds the foliage in the background in deep purple hues. Dashing will be key if you want to beat the records set by speedrunners, but it can also get you into trouble.
As you run across the world there are obstacles to jump over and enemies to clear. The initial jumps are easy, but you soon come to areas where you have to wall jump or perfectly time a midair dash to leap across the gap. There’s some simple puzzle elements in the prototype, such as the zombie plugging into circuits with its infested toaster, these points acting as conduits to travel to otherwise inaccessible areas. Your first few runs can be tricky as you get used to the inputs and there were some occasions where I’d mix up the dash with the attack, but eventually you get a hang of the control scheme.
You also need to be aware of enemies as you sprint through, with two types found in the demo. The first is a basic shuffler that looks to be inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller and can be taken out quite easily as it doesn’t have an attack, though you can take damage if you run into it without attacking. The second is a bit tougher, a demon disguising itself as a Pope. Get close and the Pope’s body splits open and the demon swipes with a cross-shaped sword. Here you need to dodge and attack at a precise time to avoid damage. Again, it took a few tries to get the timing right, but once you have this enemy is quite easy to dispatch.
Unbread certainly has an eye-catching aesthetic, which is what personally drew me to the game. There’s an angular cartoon style to it and it has been mentioned that Samurai Jack is one of those inspirations. You can see in the artwork how that comes across, which is accompanied by a sombre, slightly creepy soundtrack which fits the visual design.
Sherif hasn’t given any indication of when Unbread will be fully released and since it is in early development being made around his full time freelance work, it could be a while yet. However, you can try out the prototype for yourself right now, which is available through the game’s Discord channel, challenging for the speedrun title if you think you’re up for it.