Ever been called up for jury duty? It was a drag, right? Well, it beats the alternative that’s laid out in Trial By Survival for iOS: Fourteen days in the wilderness with nothing but your wits and a crowbar. Oh, you have a chance to redeem yourself by surviving – if you make some in-app purchases. If you refrain from spending money in Trial By Survival, however, you stand a better chance of surviving a real-world zombie emergency after dousing yourself in barbecue sauce.
Trial By Survival takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that adheres to its own brand of justice. Accused of a crime you may or may not have committed, you’re sentenced to fourteen days in the wasteland. If you survive, your innocence is proven. Somehow. If you fail, well, justice is served or something.
Society has collapsed in Trial By Survival, and hungry zombie-like beings prowl the shattered towns and suburbs. You play a different level on each “day,” which is laid out via a top-down view. Thumbsticks on each side of the screen take care of your movements and your attacks. Ultimately, your goal is to find each level’s exit, but it pays to explore and find crates of ammo and “supplies” that are hidden under trees and bushes. Thick vegetation tends to harbor zombies, so going in deep isn’t always worth the risk. Bombed-out husks of houses often hold crates, too.
Trial By Survival’s 14-day stretch of gameplay offers an interesting variation on the typical zombie slaughterfests that dominate the App Store. Unfortunately, the game is free-to-play, and it stacks the odds against you in hopes that you’ll crack and spend some money on ammo, gears, and scavenger coins. Thousands of coins are needed to upgrade your stats, and hundreds of gears are required to build weapons and/or repair your armor. If you don’t dish up real money, you don’t stand a chance of making it in Trial By Survival—especially since your enemy supply is finite, so opportunities to grind are minimal.
Worst of all, when you die, you’re back to square one. No upgrades, no weapons, no ammo. You even have to sit through the game’s opening story again.
If Trial by Survival charged a fair price for entry and rebalanced its gameplay accordingly, its 14-day formula would help it stand out as a decent zombie shooter. Sadly, there’s no justice here unless you’re willing to pay handsomely for it.