Gallery Books, $16.00, ISBN 978-1-4516-0775-8
Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? is a gamebook written in the nature of those Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks. There is no need for inventory keeping, die rolling, or stats crunching. You just make your choices and turn to the corresponding pages. And just like many of the modern gamebooks out there at the moment, this one has to revolve around zombies.
The plot is flimsy indeed. You are doing your own thing, eking out an existence as a bored and ambition-free pencil pusher, when all of a sudden there is a zombie outbreak. People start becoming zombie chow before transforming into zombies themselves. What are you going to do now? Make it quick – the zombies are literally snapping at your heels…
This is an adult gamebook, let’s make this clear, so kids will love this one as it has plenty of gore, expletives, drugs, and more. The narrative is crisp although it is unexpectedly more sober and less comedic than I would have expected from a gamebook such as this. There is humor, but that can be found in the often macabre situations your character finds himself in.
In a way, this is a pleasant gamebook to while an afternoon away, but it doesn’t really offer anything new that hasn’t been done already in the zombie genre. Some of the options lead to some really lame endings – you can choose to stay in one place and get high, the end – and there are some story lines that are predictable if you are familiar with zombie tropes and clichés. The author could be paying homage to cult zombie movies, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that this gamebook offers some really predictable and familiar fare.
Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? is, ultimately, a pretty decent gamebook. However, the only thing that really stands out about it is the beautiful packaging. The cover and the stepback are gorgeous, both in the art and the texturing that made this book seem as if it had been battered and bruised in a genuine zombie apocalypse. While the inside illustrations are unimpressive, the overall design of this book is just lush and lovely. It’s tad disappointing that the content of this book is rather forgettable and cannot measure up to the packaging.