Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days Is an 80s 2.5D State of Decay

Into the Dead Our Darkest Days

I didn’t go into my preview of Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days with the highest expectations. A franchise and developers best known for being on mobile combined with an oversaturated genre like zombie horror were two things that aren’t usually up my alley. After an hour with it during my hands-on at PAX East, I’m happy to say I was dead wrong.  Right off the bat, I was pulled into the setting and style of the world of Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days. The game is set in the 80s, boasting colorful 2.5D sidescrolling action that places a heavy emphasis on survival. 

Set in Walton City, Texas, the goal is to help a group of survivors scavenge, craft, and fight their way through the zombie outbreak. Explore the semi-open world setting to find key items like medicine, wood, and food for the shelter to help keep everyone in tip-top shape while also completing objectives and recruiting new people to help. It’s essentially State of Decay meets This War of Mine

From the shelter, I chose between three different survivors – there will likely be more in the full game – based on their particular strengths and weaknesses for the mission at hand. For example, one was better with weapons, while another had higher stamina and health.  During the demo, there were two locations to explore: a suburban house and an overrun police station, explored in that order. The first is a quick area that only features a few zombies and items, and is mostly there as a tutorial area. It was there I learned how to sneak, fight, explore, and, most importantly, run away. 


Combat-wise, Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days works similarly to most games in the zombie field. Sneaking does the most damage, and getting overrun by too many enemies at once is deadly.  Since there’s a large emphasis placed on survival, weapons are scarce and have a limited number of hits. These two factors mean that it is important to weigh the risk of exploring areas fully. I learned this the hard way eventually. After handling the house with ease, dispatching the few zombies, and scavenging like a pro, I felt confident going into the next section despite the warning of a higher populous of zombies. Since the police station was a nighttime patrol, I selected the character that gets a buff when going out at night. 

Things were going smooth at first, as I was able to sneak up on zombies and clear them out in one hit with my knife while investigating the source of the radio transmission from the first area in the demo. The more I explored, the more trouble I found.  Not every enemy can be dealt with by sneaking up on them. When there are multiple enemies, timing attacks to hit multiple zombies at once is important. Since this area is overrun, I found myself breaking and going through weapons ridiculously quickly. 

Scavenging & Death

Despite this, I still was collecting valuable scraps and intel, making me feel confident that I’d be able to get everything and make it out easily. Hubris hit me hard when I was trapped between two different groups of zombies on each side, eventually leading to my death. The catch is that there are no reload points in Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days. If your character dies, it is on to the next one. I soon found the problem with doing so well scavenging with my first character is that they now had all the resources on them that my second character desperately needed to complete the mission. 

That meant that I needed to progress the entire level bare-handed to get the intel and weapons my first character had. Remember where that character died, though? Surrounded by a bunch of enemies. After baiting a few of the zombies one way and going around a different way, I was eventually able to circle back around and loot everything the first survivor had.  Even though I got the intel, curiosity got the better of me again, and I went to explore. To be fair, the look, design, and sound of the police station was so hauntingly beautiful that I couldn’t help but want to explore it.

From the variety of tormented zombies crying and rocking in the fetal position to an area in the basement that almost caused me a full-blown panic attack due to the chilling audio, I was blown away by just how immersed I was in Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days by the end of the demo.  After getting my second survivor killed exploring too much, my third survivor made it out by running away from a terrifying horde that blocked the entrance. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with just how much I liked this PikPox title, as its design and premise were enthralling and unique. 

Into the Dead: Our Darkest Days is currently in development and is set for a 2025 Early Access release on Steam.


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Andrew has been writing and editing professionally since 2018. He has wandered around with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications sitting in his back pocket for a while now, all the while wondering what he is going to do for a career. Luckily, video games have always been there, especially as his writing career progresses.

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