Zombies and Elephants has one of the most straightforward titles in the Fear of Twine exhibition. The title is not analogous, this is a game about zombies and elephants. It’s also a game about a manual laborer named Mikateko, whom you play, and the rich, foreign white men that he tends to interact with.
Zombies have gone from being really in, to being rather stale and they’ve been at the later so long it’s possible they’re coming back around again. For those familiar with the tropes of the genre, you can predict the route the story will take. An accident, people infected, the dead have risen again.
That’s not to say that Zombies and Elephants is not incredibly well written. At its best, it reminds me of passages from World War Z where you read the perspectives of those affected first hand by a zombie plague. At its worst, it read like standard zombie fare.
The concept is solid. You like Mikateko almost immediately. He’s practical, capable of a broader understanding than his white, foreign bosses give him credit. He understands the implicit racism of his bosses, the female clerk that moved downstairs to get away from the African workers. Their softness. It’s in his descriptions of the world that the Twine shines.
The descriptions are probably where the game lags, and there are some questionable plot moments where disbelief must be entirely suspended for the viewer to enjoy them. I would have preferred if Mikateko had remained as he was initially, blind to the nature of the situation he was in with limited understanding. Horror is a genre that has often thrived on what we cannot see, and suffers from prolonged explanation. I found myself skipping through segments with long description.
Overall, Zombies and Elephants is an interesting read with a satisfying ending. At about 10 minutes play through time, it’s worth a play if you are interested in the genre or simply want a decent piece of writing.