So, the apocalypse is here, everyone is being munched on by zombies and you’ve got to muster a survival plan, what do you do? Well, weaponize Grandpa of course! 

For those of you yet to hear of Infected Shelter, it’s a side-scrolling roguelike brawler that’s currently available in Early Access on Steam and is slated for an Xbox One release later this year. Players will select from the unlikely survivors and head out into the randomly generated and bandit littered/zombie infected remains of humanity, collecting blueprints and pulling off crazy skills and combos along the way. 

infected shelter preview

Being a roguelike, this is a game in which death plays a heavy role, and with each death, you’ll be required to start a new run with a new survivor. Each run must first begin however by choosing which of the unlikely survivors they wish to run with though and, in its current build, those choices are limited to the Guitarist Girl, Smiling Soldier or Granddaughter and Grandpa – each of which have several versions resembling separate characters, but overall they prove no more than unique skins and names for the same character. 

The general idea that we are working with here is this: the camp our survivors are residing within has been ambushed. Bandits have invaded, kidnapping your fellow survivors and now you need to head out there into the danger to save them. 

Gameplay wise, Infected Shelter takes a leaf out of multiple books with a Mortal Kombat meets Dead Island Retro Revenge vibe striking heavy throughout as players utilise the usual brawler combat, with a handful of brutal fatalities mixed in, as you put each enemy down. Each run requires players to make their way through numerous randomly generated areas full of various different enemies, before eventually arriving at the boss, with checkpoints at both the halfway stage and the boss fight.

There are three bosses to battle in the current build of the game, with my only current successful battle coming against the Attack Copter. Other fights include the Mutant Bison and the Walker Droid, although I expect many more cruel and explosive boss fights when the full release rolls around. 

Thanks to the use of randomly generated content, you’ll never get any two runs the same, with the only carry over being the blueprints collected from defeated enemies, and with more than 150 currently available, there’s plenty to get stuck into. At the start of each run, players go forth with their band of heroes – which includes the player character and anyone rescued from cages within the camp – looting the various boxes containing randomised weapons, skills, drinks and so on, before making their run through to the boss. Throughout each run it’s also important to make the most of the Gold Store, which allows players to purchase relics and consumable items through any gold collected during a run. 

As seems to be the popular go-to choice in recent months, Infected Shelter is another game that utilises a solid 2D design with a minimalist art style, ensuring a full focus can be had on the hack ‘n’ slash gameplay. As for the audio, Infected Shelter is generally quite a quiet adventure, with weapon attacks being the standout audio effects over the quieter soundtrack. 

Overall and whilst its current state is a fairly simplistic tale, the gameplay provides plenty of promise. Combat is solid, the humour of picking up a fallen limb is downright hilarious, and it’s hard to deny the enjoyment of beating a zombie with the Grandpa and his wheelchair. The repetitive nature may prove a little too much for some thrill hunters but as a whole, Infected Shelter is a capable and somewhat enjoyable hack ‘n’ slash, scrolling brawler. 

Make sure you come back for our full review when Infected Shelter arrives on Xbox One near the end of the year.

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