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This upcoming indie strategy game looks like Left 4 Dead in the style of XCOM

 Dead Season screen shot - four people in a dimly lit room, surrounded by zombies.
Dead Season screen shot - four people in a dimly lit room, surrounded by zombies.

If you've ever thought to yourself that what you'd really like is a turn-based tactics take on Left 4 Dead, the upcoming Dead Season might be just the thing. Unveiled today by Snail Bite Games—actually solo developer Pavel Kharev—the game promises unforgiving turn-based tactics in a world overrun by hordes of the undead.

Dead Season gives players control of a small group of the not-yet-dead who are looking to escape the apocalypse. Where are they going to go? That isn't so clear, but "not here" is the immediate plan. Scavenging and completing objectives are core to staying alive, but the goal is to escape, not engage—fighting is a last resort, and has a way of not ending well.

A big reason for that is Dead Season's stealth mechanic. As in some other zombie epics, noise is the enemy: Make too much of it by shooting at things or smashing stuff, and you risk triggering zombie rage, which attracts more enemies and empowers the ones already on the scene, making them faster and meaner.

I ran into that during my brief time with a pre-release demo. Having discovered a shotgun in the trunk of a car, I decided to put it to good use, and quickly learned they make a lot more noise than pistols, which my police officer survivor had previously fired with little negative effect. Blasting one zombie with the shotgun ended it quickly, and also brought in reinforcements from the sewers, which quickly brought my not-going-great-anyway escape attempt to an ugly end.

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Dead Season screenshot
Dead Season screenshot

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Dead Season screenshot
Dead Season screenshot

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Dead Season screenshot
Dead Season screenshot

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Dead Season screenshot
Dead Season screenshot

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Dead Season screenshot
Dead Season screenshot

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Dead Season screenshot
Dead Season screenshot

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Dead Season screenshot
Dead Season screenshot

Dead Season will have 16 singleplayer missions filled with different types of zombies as well as living enemies who aren't taking the end of the world very well, tied together by "a narrative brought to life through motion comics." The demo unfortunately won't be publicly available in time for the Turn-Based Fest on Steam, although it will be released at some point ahead of the game's launch, which is set to take place later this year.