Can you imagine being inside a laboratory and trying to figure out exactly what kinds of stimuli it would take to make a zombie do more than try to eat you? Lab of the Dead is exactly that: you play the role of the overly curious scientist who has an entire storage area full of zombies that will serve as his lab rats. The experiments you will be performing will be unorthodox, and there is a certain sense of constant danger as you watch the chained up zombie trying to struggle and reach its rotting hands at you. This is certainly not a game for players with weak stomachs as the visuals can get pretty unnerving.
From Beachballs to Machine Guns
Playing the game is simple, first you pick a zombie from the storage to bring to your lab. Afterwards, you simply choose any weapon, food, or object that you wish the zombie to interact with. Weapons are meant to be used on the zombie, food is to be fed, and objects are for zombies to hold. This means that a gun will appear on your weapon and object panel -when selected as a weapon, you will shoot the zombie and see how it reacts, when used as an object, you hand the gun over to the zombie and see how it acts (and yes, you can choose to give a zombie a loaded or unloaded gun). In many ways, Lab of the Dead plays out more like a trial-and-error ragdoll game than it is an structured experiement.
With each interaction you make, you will influence the stats of your undead subject. These changes appear as real time numerical values. Aside from interactions changing the way your current zombie behaves, you also earn research points for pretty much anything that you do. These points are used to unlock new content -such as more narrative bits, or new items to be used on the zombies.
Overall, the game boasts of around 250 different interactions with the zombies (provided you did not decide to shoot them all on the head -which pretty much instantly terminates your current subject and forces you to grab a new zombie from storage). And having a lot of interactions with a single zombie can prove useful as its behavior will be altered quite a bit.
Listen and Wait
The game is told from the perspective of a researcher named Allen C. Tyler, and he is a among a group of survivors who managed to find a secret research laboratory. As you progress, you (or Allen) learn that the lab was being used to research the zombies (which explains the storage area). It is also revealed that the other survivors with you are military troops -this kind of explains how they managed to find what seems to be a black-ops lab. Anyway, the narrative is told from the perspective of Tyler, who does expositions by monologuing his research logs to a voice recorder. You know you're progressing through the story when he starts a new entry -which marks a new set of objectives and goals for you to achieve before the next narrative milestone.
While it is entertaining to play around and prope the zombies in manner seen very much before in doll mutilation games here, you will also have to spend a bit of time waiting for the research to finish. Most of the free time is best spent throwing stuff at your zombie and seeing how it will react -but even that can get old and you just find yourself waiting for a quite a while before the next new item finishes researching for you to finally be able to use it.
From Flash to Mobile
Lab of the Dead is a pretty interesting game with a rather quirky approach to gameplay. The visuals do get quite visceral and it can be unnerving for some players to listen to a zombie for a long time -so be sure that the aesthetic style of the game (which is quite nicely animated for the genre) is to your liking. It also takes a lot of patience to wait out all the research data as well as gaining enough RP for unlocking new things.
If these two little inconviniences hardly matter to you, then you will likely enjoy Lab of the Dead and its horrific little experiments. It actually gets rewarding as the game progresses and you see actual signs of influence on the once brain-dead zombies. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to get there, but the narrative flow will keep horror fans hooked and happy, and the experiements themselves (with the right items), can prove to be quite entertaining and clever. The best part of all is that you have a lot of zombies to choose from and there truly is a lot of room for experimentation -which means that this game really lets you be a mad scientist.