The gaming world is large and overpopulated with a HUGE range of games that many consumers don’t know what to do with. Small gaming development companies trying to make it large or producing quality games that will bring forth players that will want to play these games. PAX was such a great opportunity to see small gaming development teams here in Australia that we don’t know about that are working on indie games.

There was A LOT of indie game development teams showcasing some of their stuff and bringing some new hardware or toys with it such as the Occulus Rift and the Ouya system. Unfortunately for myself who is a console based player, these indie games don’t mean as much to me as those who would play on their tablets, computers and other mobile type peripherals. That being said, it was still great to see some fun interesting games and challenging ones at that on the expo floor.

The one that stood out the most for me was not anywhere near the indie area but away from it hidden in an inconspicuous spot where you can easily just walk past it or see it but not stop to check it out. It was basically next to the ATM near the entrance to the EXPO HALL and it was a game called ‘The Last Stand: Dead Zone’, created by a Melbourne based team called Con Artist Games.

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Seeing the stand for The Last Stand: Dead Zone was interesting and at the same time very creepy as to how it reminded me of a horror shack and in horror movies, never go to the creepy looking shack. Against all mental warning, I ended up talking to the creators and owners of Con Artist Games and ‘The Last Stand: Dead Zone’. The guys there were freakishly kind and pleasant and were excited to give us a rundown on their game and what it runs on.

Con Artist Games released ‘The Last Stand: Dead Zone’ for about 18 months and is a web browser based game which is linked by servers, two of which are connected to one another, while the third is a separate server. What came to a surprise was how simple but addictive it was and the concept of survival, tactical gameplay, zombie and time-consuming tasks somehow works out really well.

On how well the game is being received by players, it is shocking to see that it is more popular overseas in the US and UK rather than here in our own backyard. It is a free-to-play game with some options to use real money currency to purchase premium items and resources in-game to ‘enhance’ your experience. Though that is where I see how it consistently bombarding you with, “Purchase Fuel to….” Being the main culprit of how it makes you want to purchase that fuel just to make the game progress a little faster.

The Last Stand: Dead Zone is purely fun and addictive in making you salvage and create your own fort of paradise and recruiting AI survivors into it. It gets tougher as you level up in the game, and resources are used up so fast for all the things you need it for so you are consistently needing to go back out and salvage items amongst zombie filled zones. It is a tactical game so if you are familiar with real time tactics then this is a game you must try. Though the downfall to this is the downtime you have to wait in hours and minutes until certain tasks are completed or returning back from a raid. This can be overcome with the usage of fuel which can be acquired many different ways but the easiest and quickest way is also the expensive way.

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Aside from its linear ‘go-out and explore’, gather resources and weapons and build up your ‘Compound’, there is another side to it where you can either help or attack other player Compounds. This feature of the game is extremely satisfying to attack another ones compound, raiding them of all their resources and injuring their survivors. How they balanced this with players who will get bored and continually raid other player’s compound is the option to put a bounty on that players head which is rewarded with FUEL economy. This encourages players to think of whether they want to either risk raiding a compound for resources or help gathering that scarce fuel resource that will help you in the long run.

Support Con Artist Games, who are an Australian based developer located in Melbourne, by trying out “The Last Stand: Dead Zone” which is available on Facebook or you can visit their web page for the game http://www.deadzonegame.com/ for more details on where to play the game.