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  • Writer's pictureBarely Magic Mike

Days of Doom Review: Fight for Survival in a Post-Apocalyptic World!

Days of Doom Review Written by Barely Magic Mike




Days of Doom is a turn-based, tactical roguelike taking place in a post-apocalyptic landscape where zombies roam free and are no greater a danger than the people you meet who’d happily kill you for whatever meager scraps you have. Your goal is to assemble a group of heroes to fight you way through this desolate landscape on route to the mysterious city of Sanctuary, a promising oasis of safety in a world where that’s never guaranteed.

Your reaction to this premise is going to say a lot about whether you’re going to enjoy Days of Doom or not. Personally, when I hear of a game like this, especially in a day and age where breathtaking, original experiences are knocking on our doors multiple times a week, I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. To me at least, post-apocalyptic zombie tropes have been beaten to a bloody pulp, to the degree that, at least in my opinion, can only be elevated by stellar writing along the wavelength of The Last of Us, or the great mash-up of settlement building and complex strategy that was The Last Spell earlier this year. You have to do something really interesting, really well to stand out on such a well-trodden path.

green cloud of smoke and zombies
Been there done that!

The structure of Days of Doom should be pretty familiar to those acquainted with tactical roguelikes. From your settlement, which you’ll primarily use to upgrade your stats and view your heroes, you embark on a journey through several different locations that are outlined in the form of a branching map a la Slay the Spire. Each node you travel to requires some fuel, which you’ll collect bit by bit as you win battles and participate in random events. The function of fuel, as far as I can tell, is to ensure you’re being efficient with your exploration and plotting your course carefully, since you can’t see and do everything. I’m not sure it’s quite successful in this regard, because there was so little variation in event nodes that the path I took never especially mattered. I’d make sure to head in the direction of a campground to rest or shop to buy stuff, but otherwise this post-apocalyptic landscape is littered with mostly random battles or question mark nodes that… also often result in random battles.

These question mark nodes are also where morsels of Days of Doom’s story are doled out, or at least what I’ll generously call the evolving story that happens as you make your way through your run. I say generous because frankly, events repeated so frequently and were so uninteresting most of the time that I’m not sure I’d call it a story so much as a random mishmash of post-apocalyptic zombie tropes. Oh ok, a raider is fighting for their life, and we can help them and maybe recruit them. Oh, there’s an abandoned bus we can search for supplies and OOPS it’s a trap! These events have brief, matter-of-fact descriptions that neither give off nor inspire much enthusiasm and do little to add personality to the proceedings.

This is going to be a theme you notice very quickly with Days of Doom, which goes to say it really lacks its own identity. I realize this can come off as harsh, but I’m not calling it a bad game – I’m calling it, unfortunately, a really derivative one.

I’ll start with the visuals, which are very cartoony with some decent enemy designs and rudimentary animations. I don’t have a problem with this look, as it’s worked well in plenty of games – but I do have a hard time understanding why the developers chose it. Because the way zombies walk around is a bit goofy, and the various combat classes, including one who’s basically a water Bender, give off the air of a game aiming for a campy tone. But it’s really not – Days of Doom is mostly so self-serious, with little in way of levity in the aside from an awkwardly waddling zombie or two. Music is also… fine, not bad, not great, just kind of there, with tracks repeating frequently and, similar to the story itself, seemingly obsessed with brooding and humorless.

a tactical grid
Gameplay in Days of Doom can feel a bit boring

So already, the presentation is a bit of a weird mix, not quite knowing where the tone is, but being inoffensive all the same. Gameplaywise, I’m just going to say it – I found the majority of Days of Doom to be fairly boring. There are a lot of factors contributing to this and I’m going to cover that, but at its best, Days of Doom’s version of firing on all cylinders is a decent turn-based combat experience where synergies within your party can line up nicely to make you feel powerful. At its worst, it feels like you told ChatGPT to make a tactical post-apocalyptic zombie survival game and keep it low budget.

But I’ve yet to go into the details of the battle system, so let’s cover that now. Each battle starts out with the ability to place your heroes in whatever lineup you’d like. Personally, I never felt like this terribly mattered. But there were some obvious cases where it did, since some spots were fairly blocked off by debris and environmental hazards. Overall, you just want to read the room a bit and see what enemies you want certain classes to be closest to.

Then the battle begins. You’ll choose two actions for each character to perform during their turn – between moving a set number of spaces, using an item, guarding, or using their basic or special attack. Special attacks are subject to a cooldown of a few turns and tend to synergize well with the basic attacks at times, so you’ll want to plan when you use them. There are also some breakable barrels littered throughout the environment, all containing some sort of debuff like water, poison or oil. Debuffs are a big element of Days of Doom’s combat, so you’ll often want to do things like coat an enemy in the oil of a nearby barrel, and then shoot them to light it ablaze and get that sweet, sweet extra damage. The game encourages you to experiment with these interactions as there are a decent number of elements always in play.

But other than items you collect along the way or runes to boost your stats on a given run, there’s not a whole lot more to it. You’ll traverse your map collecting resources, meet some raiders who join your party or try to kill you, and do it with characters that never bother to utter a word. Events and enemy types repeat very frequently, and progression within a run is never varied enough to make each one feel distinct. I felt like the variation in my runs boiled down almost exclusively to the classes I chose to recruit, and little more – with battle arena layouts being only minimal variations from one another.

menus showing levels
Not a bad game just not a memorable one

This doesn’t result in a bad game, but it results in one that gets repetitive pretty quickly and has a hard time bearing the aggregate weight of its numerous minor flaws.

By far the biggest of which, for me at least, was that the balance felt totally nuts most of the time. It could be possible to stave off the tedium if runs ended sooner, but about the first forty-five minutes to full hour of each run was bafflingly easy at times. But I’d be breezing through levels and suddenly hit a brick wall, with a boss that took turns so frequently and so aggressively that I had a hard time believing I stood a chance.

When all your heroes die, you return to the settlement, where any money you’ve collected can be used on upgrades that, with few exceptions, move incredibly slowly. I was lucky if dying an hour and a half into a run yielded enough to upgrade even one thing, and that thing might be “you now find 5% more resources”. It makes progression feel like a grind when you have to play 2-3 runs to buy anything more valuable, like being able to recruit an extra hero or carry more items, and only with these things would your runs truly be more effective.

Again, if the runs were shorter this would be less of an issue, but the fact is you will be doing a lot of easy, slow battles before anything of interest happens on a given run, and it gives the game a pace like a snail stuck in frozen molasses. I struggled to stay awake at times as I played through battle after similar battle, none of them requiring the slightest bit of effort until the clock ticked substantially far enough.

Add in some other minor issues, like the inability to switch out items if all your item slots are full, the fact that I could not for the life of me figure out how to look up what certain status effects like “Vulnerable” did, the fact that there was a battle that got bugged and forced me to quit and restart it, or a character once survived a battle and yet was missing in the next one, and status-inflicting barrels often spawn so close to your party’s side of the arena that using them wouldn’t make much tactical sense, and you quickly have a game that struggles to justify grinding away at upgrades for a pretty bland experience.

I fully believe some of you out there who love zombie stuff, love post-apocalyptic stuff and love tactical games can look past the issues here and probably have a pretty good time for quite a few hours, especially with the game’s stellar steam deck support. But if you’re not really, really into those tropes, there is nothing whatsoever original here, and its total lack of identity paired with the repetitive grind is unlikely to win you over.

Overall, Days of Doom is one of the single most average games I’ve ever played in my life. Aside from a few bugs, it’s very functional. But it’s a game with few ideas of its own, and one that doesn’t respect the player’s time with hours of repetitive content to get to the good stuff. There were times when I hit the right tactical synergies to make battles fun and empowering, but these times felt like expecting a 6-year-old to eat a serving of broccoli to have 2 M&Ms as dessert. Maybe they’ll do it if they really love M&Ms, but in retrospect they may ask if it was worth it.


  • Combat synergies make you feel powerful

  • Good variation in combat classes


  • Extremely repetitive

  • Lacks personality

  • Serious tone is at odds with presentation

  • Persistent upgrades feel grindy

  • Long runs can get pretty boring

Summary: An occasional fun but extremely derivative entry in the tactical roguelite genre that’ll be easy for most to skip.


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