Pleasant Cove: The Dead Awake is a classic hidden object game within a horror setting. The User must find enough consumables (food, water, batteries, medication, etc) for their party to survive while hunting for clues and items need to escape Pleasant Cove. As with other Hidden Object Games there is a penalty for indiscriminately clicking on objects, but in this case the consequences can be deadly. Clicking on incorrect items creates commotion that can attract nearby zombies, making it more difficult to traverse the spaces between locations.
The Game HUD features the "Zombie Window" which represents how aware the zombies are of the user's activity. As the User makes mistakes Zombies are seen to appear in the Zombie window (seen at 1:40 of the above video). The zombies not only fill the window but also get closer as they hone in on the user- alerted by the noise they are making while searching. If the user fills the window then the zombies will burst through(at 1:54) and it is game over.
The user can control the number of zombies by leaving a location until the zombies lose interest. However the number of Zombies in the window also controls how many zombies appear outside when the user moves between locations- Zombie Chess.
Inspired by George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” the game follows the ‘less is more’ rule when it comes to the gore and violence. The pencil shaded black and white rendering will be deliberately used to evoke the look of George A. Romero’s classic horror film and that 1970’s Horror Comic approach to the art style.
Pleasant Cove: The Dead Awake also includes role playing strategy with the more casual puzzle game play (Hidden Object Game). It uses a grid-based board game to simulate movement between the locations that host the Hidden Object game play. In this puzzle game the user has to find away past the zombies in a turn based game with a hexagonal board.
The Zombies will wonder aimlessly until they see or hear the User. The User can elect to use stealth or power to blast their way through. Guns and ammunition can be collected but must be user sparingly as while they will kill a zombie shooting will also draw the attention of all other zombies on the board.
Players can elect to play the game in the role of a range of different character with various statistics such as combat ability, morale and stamina. During the play, the player takes on forays as part of the main storyline, as well as constantly searching for the items needed to survive for one more day. At its heart Pleasant Cove is a casual game, but with hardcore gaming sensibilities, a Hidden Object game where the items to find are relevant and the consequences matter.
Each Character differs in statistics such as combat ability, morale and stamina. During the play, the player takes on forays as part of the main storyline, as well as constantly searching for the items needed to survive for one more day. At its heart Pleasant Cove is a casual game, but with hardcore gaming sensibilities, a Hidden Object game where the items to find are relevant and the consequences matter.
The combination of the hardcore game play aspects(Turn based game play, Role Playing progression) and dark setting for a genre that is viewed as casul( HOG) makes it a difuclt sell to publishers as they can not see the take up in their clearly defined genre models.