Last Day on Earth is a freemium mobile survival sandbox with creative cutting-edge mechanics, sweet graphics, out of the box marketing, and tons of content, really, the number of different weapons, armor, vehicles, upgrades, buildings… I’m getting off track, the point is the guys at Kefir Games took Edison’s saying very seriously “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration” and it certainly worked for them. The flow of the game is always engaging, leveling up is fast, you’re getting new weapons, armor and crafting recipes constantly… All that and the game is still in Beta.
There are many great mobile titles on the market, what sets “Last day on earth: Survival” apart is their creative monetization methods.
A monetization methodology focused on making the free version of a game, literally get exponentially frustrating, until, inevitably they corner you between buying game credits and rage quitting, leaving all your progress behind. The guys at Kefir Games are using freemium mechanics that make the game worth playing for free users while exploiting impulse purchase behaviors that we’ll discuss below, to also make it profitable.
All this comes together into the best freemium mobile game I’ve had the pleasure of trying out until now.
Size: 201 MB.
Genre: Survival, Zombies.
Developed by: Kefir Games
Reviewed on Android; Also available on IOS.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. After the virus killed 80% of the population, another 10% killed each other over bullets and resources. You start in the middle of a forest, on your own, naked… When the zombies come… In your efforts to survive and rebuild, you find out that there is still an active remnant of the military, following their clues you find and unlock bunkers that hold great salvage, and perhaps something else.
There is not a fixed storyline, it’s up to you to define it.
For control, the game uses a regular touchpad joystick emulator, with a single action button and quick access to your secondary equipment. One of the clear obstacles, as with many games of the genre, is the inventory space, while most items stack, they go up to 20, which at first seems like a comfortable number, after finding out how much will it take upgrade each wall you might change your mind.
This is where things get interesting.
The game is divided into square maps, and the way you travel from map to map is the first creative freemium mechanic that comes into play. Like most freemium games “Last day on earth: Survival” has mechanics of travel time and energy, the beauty of their energy system is that its sole purpose is to shorten the travel times so you get where you need to be in seconds instead of minutes, this guarantees a good playing session without stopping, and fills up in a few hours.
Then comes the question, if the travel time and energy systems don’t make the game frustrating for free users, why are they even there? most people only play so much every day, etc… Well here comes that 1% inspiration, they threw into the mix special event maps, with awesome prizes, but wait, you can only get to them for a limited time, and yes, it takes time to travel to special maps just as regular ones. Standing there in the map window with a drop box on sight and no energy… not pressing the “Buy now” button is a formidable test of will. Also since it will always take the same time to travel from map to map regardless of your level, frustration is linear instead of exponential. And to top it all of once the game fully launches its multiplayer features, maps will be shared, and those event maps will become spontaneous arenas for chaotic melees where only one will get out victorious.
The crafting system is very ingenious, besides having a ton of options to decide, you can refine every kind of basic materials into more complex ones using specific workbenches, sustaining their importance while keeping your crafting fun and diverse.
Here comes into play another great monetization method, you can craft almost every piece of equipment in the game, and even if you’re starting out you’ll find great loot in events, so you will enjoy the content without paying, but yes, there is a catch, all equipment quickly degrades with use, even ranged weapons exchange the usual ammunition mechanic for a “durability” attribute, which by the way only goes down, no repair mechanic yet. All this work letting free users play longer for the cool stuff while, and giving supporters a fair advantage and more bunker time.
Besides thirst, hunger, and loneliness, zombies are always after you, literally, a horde is perpetually on its way to mess up your house, every day it passes by and takes down your walls, and while right now it’s just an annoying set back, when the full multiplayer version launches, those walls will be the only thing keeping greedy players from your loot.
One of my few critiques of the game is the lack of slow zombies, after the first tier, all other zombies can run almost as fast as you, sure it’s not boring, but starting out it might get a little annoying.
Other notable mechanics that make the game relatable are the smell and bladder mechanics, that’s right you need to shower or the zombies will smell you from farther away, other players (bots until full release) too, and if you happen to run into a beer while looting I would wait until you get home to drink it, zombies won’t wait patiently while you go number 1.
The building mechanics of the game will let you create an awesome base in minutes (assuming you already have the wood and stone), which is a nice gesture, considering that once a day zombies come to trash it down, don’t despair, you’re not defenceless, going with the survival theme, you can install a number of traps to keep those rotten sacks from messing up your place. On a personal note the traps also killed my deer so I hate them, those never spam in your home again you know?
I would like to tell you about the vehicles, but I haven’t found the bunch of motor parts you need after crafting the recipe. My advice, take your time before you start any.
The game has great graphics for mobile standards, low poly 3d models give the game a realistic feel and sweet esthetics for only 201 MB, but the best part is the animations, they did a great job capturing the essence of the actions, and they integrate great with the environment and each other.
The environment is a bit repetitive, This is something they need to focus on before the actual launch, the need for testing the items over the background on the Beta phase is a pretty good excuse, besides you’ll be so busy running away from zombies and rebuilding your house that you’ll barely notice.
They also do a great work on their 2D artwork for the UI and icons, even though the style is not my usual order, I have to admit it’s pretty cool.
“Last day on earth: Survival” is challenging what it means to make a freemium game profitable, using cutting-edge mechanics and quality work they’re setting a new bar for mobile gaming.
This post-apocalyptic survival sandbox will give you hours upon hours of fun engaging and fresh gameplay even before it officially launches.