Survival, Crafting, and Will Smith Come Together in Undawn

Undawn Preview

I’ve been to preview events that lasted literally for hours, where each member of the dev team gushed on about their favorite part of the game. If nothing else, you can’t help but appreciate their passion and commitment, misplaced though it sometimes seems. By contrast, the hands-off preview event for the upcoming co-op survival game Undawn lasted around 15 minutes. Does that mean that the developers just valued my time, or that their game is light on content? Time will tell.

Did we mention that Undawn includes a cameo by Will Smith? He plays an NPC called Trey Jones. Considering current public opinion about Mr. Smith, this may or may not be a selling point.

In any case, Undawn slaps down (get it?) a combination of survival and co-op mechanics that looks like an MMORPG. It’s also primarily a mobile game, with PC support to make building and crafting a little easier. It’s always on, and there is a cash shop, of course.

Undawn takes place in a post-(yawn)-apocalyptic future, where cities have been overrun by terrifying zombie-type monsters and warring factions. You spend your time gathering resources, fighting creatures and other humans who are also trying to survive and thrive. Like with nearly every survival game, you have to attend to basic bodily functions like hunger and thirst, but Undawn adds other elements like mental states and cleanliness. And Will Smith.

Sims Meet the Apocalypse

Base building, alone or with your buddies, is a core mechanic of Undawn. As per usual, building consists of seaming together pre-fab elements and adding things like crafting and cooking stations (humans call this a kitchen). But you can turn your humble abode into a fortress if you want, by adding defensive turrets, proximity mines and drones. Some of the décor options are pretty luxurious looking.

Although we didn’t see it in the preview, the character creator looks like it’s geared to generating bland, vaguely anime-style characters. We also don’t know too much about the game’s co-op elements. We know that there are raids and you and your crew can fight off the zombie horde with weapons you craft yourself. Like with every self-respecting MMO or action RPG, there are story and side missions to tackle.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

Undawn is a mobile game first, and it looks like it. The environments and architecture don’t really suggest a specific time or place, aside from rural America and some urban zones. Admittedly, though, I’ve only seen a 15-minute fraction of what is presumably a large open world.

No game, no matter how brilliant, is entirely original. Every game borrows ideas, recycles mechanics, and iterates on the creativity of others. In the case of Undawn, my early impression was that it doesn’t have a clear sense of identity apart from being cobbled together with bullet points. Maybe I’ll play it and have a revelation. Right now, I can’t imagine anyone being too passionate about Undawn.

Except for Will Smith.

Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.

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