Preview: Ray’s the Dead

A Zombie and His Magical Lightbulb

Ray’s the Dead is an action-strategy hybrid game by Chicago-based Ragtag Studio that promises to deliver a unique experience for zombie fans everywhere.

While zombie games have become fairly commonplace in the realm of gaming over the past several years, Ray’s the Dead aims to challenge the common perception that zombies are simply crazed ravagers by putting you in the shoes of one. Taking on the role of a confused and bewildered Ray, you climb out of the depths of your grave to find a large green lightbulb sticking out of your head. With a stroke of fate, lightning strikes the lightbulb and miraculously grants Ray the power to raise the dead. Delighted with his new-found powers, Ray takes to the streets summoning allies to wreak havok on the human population to avenge his death.

Rays the Dead - Art
Ray’s the Dead’s fantastic art style is something you’ll really enjoy.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to see Ray’s the Dead in action at PAX East 2013, and I have to say that the game looked fantastic. Considering how early the game is in development, several core mechanics worked flawlessly as we played the game on the expo floor. My favorite would have to be the stealth component to the game, as you have to be a tactician in Ray’s the Dead as opposed to taking the “just bite and punch” road to success. To be successful on his mission, Ray must outsmart his enemies and must therefore be creative when trying to add to his minion army. If a farmer is having a beer on his porch, you can send a zombie to hide in a nearby bush. Once the farmer strolls past, he is quickly pulled into the bush where he emerges as a zombie minion. Clever tactics like this are necessary due to the fact that your zombie allies are relatively weak individually and simply cannot combat the firepower of a farmer with a shotgun.

Build your horde. Conquer your enemies.
Build your horde. Conquer your enemies.

Regrettably, my time with Ray’s the Dead was brief due to the 60,000+ people swarming the expo hall trying to catch a glimpse of new upcoming games. As much as I wanted to hold the controller and not let go, I had to so that someone else could play what I believe will become an excellent game. Ragtag Studio isn’t trying to just create ‘another zombie game’; They are striving to deliver a game that will be as challenging as it is fun. There ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.


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