I like to wonder what I would do during a zombie apocalypse. I’d like to think that I’d be one of the good guys and go out to help people in need, but I can’t know unless I’m in the situation. Developer Seacoxx explores that scenario in their zombie survival-themed visual novel I Walk Among Zombies Vol. 1. They explore what it’s like for an average person, with the same conflicting thoughts as everyone else, finds ways to survive in this new zombie-infested world.
I Walk Among Zombies aims to transport players to the interworkings of a mind that is at odds with the rest of humanity. However, through a balancing act of survival and dealing with his own humanely desires, I Walk Among Zombies sets up a pretty good foundation for the rest of the series with only a few minor setbacks.
I Walk Among Zombies Vol. 1 tells the story of Yuusuke Takemura who has just woken up from a strange dream where he was being attacked by a zombie. However, it would end up not being a dream as he looks down at his arm and finds a bite mark. I can sympathize with this situation because one of my worst fears is getting bit by a zombie in the earliest stages of a zombie apocalypse and not having the chance to survive. After a little research, Yuusuke discovers that he should already be a zombie and yet he isn’t. What’s more interesting is that, after walking outside, the zombies don’t seem to pay attention to him.
This leads to Yuusuke understanding more about himself in this new world and figuring out just what kind of person he is. It’s clear that he enjoys being alone and doesn’t go out much, but the story often has to compensate with that characterization by balancing his good deeds with bad ones. You see, he’s not that good of a person, and he knows that, but it’s tough to understand his actions when the story doesn’t even know if it wants him to be a good or bad guy.
I felt like Yuusuke just had it too easy in the zombie apocalypse. As one of the only survivors in town, he not only doesn’t get attack by zombies, but he also has access to electricity, water, food, and even internet access for a while. Rarely does Yusuke struggle with any real consequences, even when the story sets up a twist. If Yuusuke and his shenanigans were all this story offered, it would fall flat on its face as just a visual novel that wants to tell a story of an overpowered male in this new world, but instead, the story introduces the main heroine Mitsuki Fujino who helps add new life into this zombified visual novel.
You see, Yusuke ends up helping Mitsuki and her two brothers who are more or less trapped in a department store. He brought them food, but then requires some sort of payment for going out of his way to help them. Understandably, Yuusuke is being immoral, but this is the zombie apocalypse and Mitsuki doesn’t know about Yuusuke’s power. However, more interesting here is that the story shifts to Mitsuki’s point of view and tells her story from the way that she sees events and how she got in the situation that she’s in.
This shift in protagonists gives players the drama that the story needed to survive in the middle act of this visual novel that was turning into Yuusuke just running around town raping zombie girls and raiding stores. Mitsuki is more human than Yuusuke so you get the sense of what it’s like to be a helpless survivor in this new world. Furthermore, you get to be in her head when Yuusuke makes her do things to him as “payment”.
The game’s options are enough to customize the experience that you’re looking for and the voice over for the characters is great. I enjoyed that the developers chose to have the words printed on the screen instead of in a typical visual novel text box. This added to the spooky mood and tone of the story and forced you to look at the background while you are reading which added a bit to the immersion. There’s a lot of CGs in the game, but most of them revolve around the game’s H-scenes.
If I had one gripe it would be that I wish they showed some of the more gory scenes described throughout the visual novel. Instead, we only see blood splatters on the screen, but get a very detailed description of the zombies ripping people up.
When it comes to the H-scenes, I Walk Among Zombies isn’t too vanilla with its sex. The game often features girls tied up but doesn’t go past that in terms of bondage. Although Yusuke is a scumbag, it’s interesting to read how he justifies his actions in his head. He knows he’s doing the wrong thing and yet he still does them, he is hesitant most of the time and acknowledges that he probably shouldn’t be doing it, but he’s still struggling with living in this new world and with that comes the freedom to try and exist in it.
I Walk Among Zombies Vol. 1 is a strong beginning to a trilogy of visual novels. The story sets up the world and characters to the point where you wish it didn’t end on the cliffhanger that it does. Even though the game lacks more gory CGs, I felt that the characters balance out the story in a way that when Yuusuke’s storyline is dipping in quality, Mitsuki takes over and it improves from there.
I’m not sure if the reader is supposed to like Yuusuke or not, which puts me at odds with forgiving him for some of his actions. However, his inner battle with accepting other humans into his live shows throughout the story and I’d like to see more of how he evolves as the main protagonist. If you’re okay with some questionable sexual situations and enjoy zombie theme narratives then I Walk Among Zombies Vol. 1 is a must-read.
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