Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~ Review

The world as we know it is over. A deadly disease has devastated the world, and left it as a shell of what it once was as everyone has escaped if they can. You however play as Reggie, who happened to be in a coma while the disease spread. Finally, you wake to see your neighbour Pearl in a state of decay; she’s a zombie.

The intro scene drags on as Pearl explains what has happened. She’s infected, but has kept her conscience, and while your father has escaped, he’s left you a single dose of the cure, which you now need to mass produce to save the world. The fate of humanity is in your hands!

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Once the game gets underway, the slow pace does increase as you get to explore the local area in search of the cure, but the first few hours are still a slow build where it feels like nothing is happening.

As you’re exploring, the world has a dungeon-crawler atmosphere, with an art style that nostalgic to early 2000’s cartoons. Travelling the open world map was both fascinating and frustrating; Mr. Tired Media’s interpretation of the abandoned world is beautiful and has the same atmosphere that city centres have had all year, filled with hasty escapes and neglect. Despite this gorgeous environmental storytelling, the controls really let the side down. With no sensitivity options, I would try to turn left and end up doing a 720 degree turn. While a little amusing to begin with, the amusement turns to annoyance pretty quickly – I just want to play the game, not watch it freak out!

Going into this game I knew there would be romantic dialogue, but it reads as very over the top manga, which made it more humourous than anything else, often referencing zombie films to influence decision-making. Every zombie girl is (of course) in love with you, and you get to affect this based of how you respond in each dialogue – except it feels like it doesn’t make a difference. No matter what you say, the characters respond in their perfectly stereotyped way. Each girl does have a distinct personality, but they also fit so neatly into their appointed stereotype that it just feels awkward.

The enemies can be found through random encounters, and pre-marked battles shown on the map, and are honestly, insanely clever. The world around you has, of course, been affected by the virus, and so enemies could be other zombies, but then you also have to battle ashtrays and food items. This take felt so inspired, and while it could be seen as a metaphor for destroying our environment as well as ourselves, without an active context of consumerism that is mentioned throughout, it purely reads as humour.

Battles are turn based and static, with your squad of zombie girls using a mixture of melee attacks and magical ones. Weapons can be used, but they have a set amount of uses before they break (which is shown alongside the item name) and leave your melee attacks severely underpowered. Thankfully, you can rely on magic when this happens, until you can equip yourself with a new weapon.

There is no way to buy weapons in game – there is no currency, and no one in any shops to sell to you. Instead, everything is found after battles or in chests, which refill themselves if you leave and re-enter the floor or the building. I used this a few times in order to restock on both weapons and health items, however your inventory is frustratingly limited, so you do have to prioritise items.

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Summary
There's some fun to be had in the dungeon crawling and battling an inventive array of enemies, but for the romance side of the game to be simultaneously funny, you have to be able to take the characters seriously, which unfortunately, I just couldn’t. The reliance on stereotypes and tongue-in-cheek narration turned this game into a comedy, but considering it as a romance game really lowers the quality of the entire game.
Good
  • Art style builds its own narrative, and is completely authentic
  • Dialogue is incredibly amusing
  • Ingenious enemy design
Bad
  • Control sensitivity can’t be changed and is too sensitive
  • Use of outdated stereotypes makes game feel older than it is
  • Inventory management is poor
6