AMC’s The Walking Dead has been keeping viewers firmly on the edge of their seats for years now, wondering how (or even if) their favorite characters will continue to survive one more day in the zombie — er, “walker” — apocalypse. But when a season ends, it can seem like an eternity before you’ll be back in the company of Rick Grimes and his intrepid band of survivors. There are a few ways around this dreaded scenario. You could read the comic book the show is based on, but that could lead to spoilers for the show. Another way is to play Walking Dead video games.
To that effect, we’ve scrounged through the reviews to find the very best Walking Dead games available right now on consoles and mobile devices. Here they are.
7. The Walking Dead: Road to Survival
Metacritic score: 73
If you’re looking for an apocalyptic strategy game to sink into on the go, the mobile game The Walking Dead: Road to Survival is just for you. It’s based on the comics rather than the show, which could cause some cognitive dissonance for anyone who hasn’t cracked the spine of the ink-and-paper editions. Even so, it doesn’t take long to figure out what’s what as you work to build a safe haven from the zombie scourge.
Along the way, you’ll have to complete missions, team up with familiar faces, and engage in turn-based battles against enemies both living and undead. Throw in a faction system that lets you accompany other players on supply raids, and you’re looking at a meaty game with plenty of content to last you between seasons of the show.
6. The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land
Metacritic score: 74
Another mobile strategy game set in the Walking Dead universe is The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land. Similar to Road to Survival, this game is all about building up a settlement using resources that regenerate over time. As they do, you can send out your survivors to complete story missions. Here’s where this game differentiates itself from Road to Survival. Moving around is turn based, like a board game, and each character has his or her own unique abilities to help during combat. For instance, some can stun enemies, while others can shoot through multiple walkers if they’re lined up right. All told, it’s a decent way to spend time in your favorite fictional nightmare world.
5. The Walking Dead: Assault
Metacritic score: 78
The Walking Dead: Assault is another mobile offering, but it’s no sim. It’s a squad survival game that’s based directly on the black-and-white comics that inspired the show. To that effect, the graphics look like they’ve been lifted directly from the page and dropped onto your phone or tablet.
Like the source material, the game kicks off when Rick wakes up in the hospital to find that the world has sunk into a state of walker apocalypse. Viewing the action from a top-down perspective, you walk around, finding weapons and ammo and blasting your way through enemies. Before long you’ll team up with characters like Glen and Shane (remember him?), who will help inflict carnage on the undead hordes. Try this one out if you need a dose of action in your life.
4. The Walking Dead: Season Two
Metacritic score: 80
It’s hardly a spoiler by this point to say that Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Two puts you in control of Clementine, a surprisingly tough young girl who’s seen her fair share of bad times. After surviving against all odds through Season One (about which, more below), Clementine finds herself on her own in a waking nightmare world.
Before long, you team up with a whole new group of people, but it will be a while before everyone trusts one another. Just like the other installments in this series of adventure games, you’ll have to work your way through many tense moments, often hanging onto life by a thread.
3. The Walking Dead: 400 Days
Metacritic score: 80
Telltale’s The Walking Dead: 400 Days is a unique entry in that it’s actually a single episode you can play from within The Walking Dead: Season One. It came out as a special episode between Season One and Season Two, and it takes place between the events of those full games.
Instead of telling a single story, 400 Days tells five interconnected narratives, each from the perspective of a different character who’s situated around Gil’s Pitstop. Choices you make in each vignette have ripple effects through the rest of the stories, making 400 Days an interesting narrative.
2. Zen Pinball 2: The Walking Dead
Metacritic score: 83
Who would’ve thought that zombies and pinball would go together like peanut butter and chocolate? If you’ve been playing the ZEN Pinball games, you probably had a good idea they would. No one makes digital pinball games like Zen Studios. Like Telltale with its adventure games, the folks at Zen are masters at taking licensed properties and turning them into unique pinball tables, while retaining what makes the license special.
Oddly enough, The Walking Dead table isn’t based on the comic or the TV show version of The Walking Dead. It’s based on Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One. Once you can wrap your mind around that, you’re in for a treat, as the game has content from all five episodes of the original game.
1. The Walking Dead: Season One
Metacritic score: 92
The best Walking Dead game by a long shot is Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One. That’s not to denigrate the other games on the list; this game is just that good. It was easily one of the best games of 2012, thanks to its gripping story, relatable characters, and willingness to let players make decisions that determine who lives and dies.
You play as Lee Everett, a prisoner who gets an apocalyptic pardon when the cop car transporting him smashes into a zombie and careers off the road. You wake up to find the walker epidemic in full swing, with your door ajar and the office who’d been escorting you turned into a walker. Soon you meet up with a girl named Clementine, who becomes your companion and gives you a reason to keep going in a world turned upside down. If you haven’t played this one yet, you have no excuse not to correct that mistake now. It’s available on just about every modern gaming device, from phones to consoles.