Corridor Z is an endless runner game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and PS Vita. The game is from the same developer that brought the excellent Draw Slasher to the PlayStation Vita in April 2013 followed by the equally as good Run Like Hell! to the Vita in September 2014.
The story revolves around a zombie outbreak in an everyday high school which spreads at such a rapid rate that it unfortunately could not be contained by the local authorities including the police and even the army, therefore resulting in a horde of zombies roaming the high school looking for their next victim with only a very limited amount of survivors in a race to survive by escaping the high school before they become the next victims of the zombie infestation.
The main gameplay element is survival and in order to survive your character must outrun a horde of zombies which leads to surviving through days by completing multiple objectives per day during your attempt to stay a few steps ahead of the zombies such as using any object 5 times in total, killing a total of 3 zombies, finding a page from Jill’s Diary, shooting zombies a certain amount of times, collecting rations and more besides.
There are initially three people who have survived the zombie outbreak including high school students Logan and Megan as well as a member of the army named Sergeant Williams, while the enemy design includes a variety of zombies which come in all shapes, sizes and outfits. Character customisation takes place from within the armoury with each of the three core characters having three sets of clothing to choose from as there is a stock set of clothing which the characters naturally wear including Logan dressed as a jock, while Megan’s outfit is that of a pom-pom girl and Sergeant Williams is in his army uniform. The alternative sets of clothing include a Ninja T for Logan which shows Mass Creation’s humorous side as it has the logo of their first Vita game Draw Slasher on the front of the t-shirt and a quarterback jersey, while Megan has a trendy outfit and a Moto-R costume in the style of a Ridge Racer grid girl, alongside Sergeant Williams who has a casual civilian look with a cap, vest, jeans and boots as well as an outfit that is reminiscent of Blade. Costumes cost 100 rations each to rent or 1,000 rations to purchase the first of the two sets of clothing and 2,000 rations to purchase the second of the two sets of clothing for each character.
The environment design explains the title of the game as it is pretty much set in varying layouts and lengths of corridors with obstacles situated on either side and above to move into the path of the hordes of chasing zombies directly behind you.
Weapons are not absolutely necessary to keeping the zombies far enough behind in order to escape as there are obstacles that can be thrown in their way from either side and above, although weapons can come become rather useful when zombies are beginning to get a little too close. Weapons can be unlocked from the armoury with a pistol available from the start, although further weapons must be earned by surviving a specific number of days such as a shotgun which becomes available after surviving for three days, an SMG after six days, a revolver after nine days, a sawed-off shotgun after twelve days and a magnum after a total of thirteen days of survival from the zombies. Every weapon has their own attributes and characteristics including damage, fire rate, possibility of a headshot and ammo capacity which can all be vastly upgraded as every weapon has a maximum of six levels, starting from the first level and gradually upgrading to the best level of performance by efficiently utilising the in-game currency of rations which can be found hidden in levels and can also be earned from completing levels, although the amount of rations required to purchase an upgrade will increase as the upgrade level increases with it, while a further use of the armoury is to craft medikits from ingredients found during your attempt at survival.
A variety of perks can be equipped immediately before beginning your run which are unlocked by surviving a specific amount of days such as two days for a trip mine, five days for more ammo, eight days for a head start and eleven days for more accuracy with the ability to start with a randomly selected gun from those which have already been unlocked is available from the beginning, although perks can only be equipped by spending a certain number of rations such as 50 rations for an armed start, 100 rations for a trip mine and increasing figures of rations for further perks.
There are plenty of collectables including 36 pages of Jill’s Diary, 14 audiologs, 17 clues and 5 videos with the collective purpose of providing more depth to the story which are progressively found hidden within levels as you continue to survive the zombie threat.
There is a statistics screen with a listing of your statistics that consists of statistical analysis ranging from the total distance in metres you have run; the best distance you have covered in a single run; the accumulative amount of zombie kills; the highest amount of zombie kills for a single run; the total amount of bullets fired at zombies; the total number of calories burned by each character; the amount of objects knocked over; the amount of rations collected and consumed; and more besides. The statistics screen is a great design choice as it allows you to analyse each area of your performance, so you can view if you are firing weapons at zombies more than you are knocking objects over into their path and decide to change tactics accordingly to see if it increases the distance between your chosen character and the zombies, therefore potentially increasing the length of your run.
Corridor Z supports cross-buy and cross-save between the PS4 and Vita. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase. The cross-save functionality allows you to sync the progression of your save file from your Vita to your PS4 and vice versa, so you can start playing the game on your Vita on the way to and from work, sync your save game when you return home and then resume were you left off by loading the save game and continuing via the PS4 version. The cross-save feature is made possible by uploading your save file to the cloud on one console and downloading it from the other console.
The controls are well mapped to the Vita with the control scheme consisting of pressing X, L or R to fire a weapon at incoming zombies; pushing upwards on the left analogue stick or pressing up on the d-pad to use objects situated above as obstacles; pushing the left analogue stick to the left or right or pressing left or right on the d-pad to use objects located to the left or right as obstacles; pushing downwards on the left analogue stick or pressing down on the d-pad to pick up weapons to be able to shoot at zombies; and pressing start to display the pause menu. The touch screen control scheme provides an excellent alternative as swiping in the appropriate direction replaces the left analogue stick and d-pad controls for using objects to create obstacles against the zombies, tapping the touch screen replaces X, L and R for shooting at zombies with a weapon collected from the ground or available from the beginning of a run via the armed start perk and tapping the pause icon situated on the top right of the touch screen to display the pause menu; therefore both sets of controls are intuitive and can be utilised on the fly without having to switch between the two through any options menus.
Graphically, Corridor Z possesses the appropriate tone for such subject matter as it has limited lighting resulting in the production of an atmospheric and tense look to the surrounding environments, while animations of the characters and zombies are smooth.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great touch screen based user interface across various menus such as the main menu, armoury menus, collectables menus, settings menu and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick, directional pad and rear touch pad. The background of the menus consists of various areas within a confined room with a flicking light strobe dangling overhead diminishing the light in the room which ultimately sets the tone for what lays ahead in the story and gameplay.
Each character has their own distinctive voice-overs to tell the story through cutscenes and nervous comments made by characters during the intense atmosphere of running for their lives from bloodthirsty zombies as well as a voice-over narrating Jill’s Diary pages, while the sound effects include running, the crashing of obstacles onto the ground and being stumbled over after they are thrown into the path of the zombies and the hungry growls of the zombies, alongside tense and climactic music.
The trophy list includes 13 trophies with 9 bronze trophies, 3 silver trophies and 1 gold trophy. The easiest trophy has to be the Fresh Meat bronze trophy for being bitten by zombies just by failing to outrun them, while the harder trophies includes the Fast Food silver trophy for reaching 1,000 meters in a single run; the Deadeye silver trophy for getting 1,000 headshots; the Dear Diary silver trophy for collecting all of Jill’s diary pages; and the Z-Man gold trophy for collecting all of the collectables. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 5 to 10 hours to 100% the trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although the difficulty curve is clear to see as zombies start to come at you faster as you progress through the levels which can become rather hard until enough days have been survived to unlock better weaponry and sufficient rations have been earned and spent on upgrading weapons to fight off the zombies, therefore having multiple tiers of appropriately balanced difficulty levels may have made the game a little more accessible in certain objectives that are capable of being much harder than others.
There are no multiplayer features which is disappointing given the exceptional multiplayer featured in Mass Creation’s previous game Run Like Hell on Vita and while that may have been a much different premise to that found in Corridor Z; an ad-hoc or online multiplayer component could have included one player as a human attempting to outrun the zombies, while the second player as a zombie attempts to catch up to the person who is trying to escape and could perhaps even extend as long as having three or four players with two humans and two zombies or one human and three zombies or vice versa with players who win when having the odds stacked against them such as three zombies against one human receiving greater rewards, alongside a pass the Vita multiplayer feature which could have seen multiple players attempting to survive for the longest duration.
The online leaderboards focuses on global rankings and friends rankings with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and the length of their run with the positioning of each player based upon the accumulated length of their run.
The replayability stems from a variety of areas including dozens of objectives which when completed successfully will even unlock a new character, character customisation accompanied by a customisable weapons and perks loadout, upgradeable weapons via the in-game currency of rations, strategic elements regarding the most important investment of rations to improve your chances of survival, plenty of collectables, statistical analysis of your performance and competitive online leaderboards which collectively provides many hours of fun gameplay.
Overall, Corridor Z is alongside Mass Creation’s Run Like Hell as two of the most entertaining endless runner games in quite some time and is certainly worthy of your time if you are a fan of the endless runner genre, especially on Vita were it makes an incredibly appropriate fit to a portable platform as it is perfect for both short bursts and a longer duration of gameplay which is a testament to how enjoyable it can be.