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Update: It now has Easy Anti-Cheat, so it's no longer playable with Steam Play. Hopefully with EAC in Beta for Steam Play, it will work again sometime.

Original article

Pandemic Express - Zombie Escape, from TALLBOYS and tinyBuild puts you and up to 30 people in a large open-world as you try to escape on a Train and it just went into Early Access today. Note: Key provided by tinyBuild.

To be clear, this is not a native Linux game but thanks to Steam Play it does work on Ubuntu 19.04 and there's no problems joining online games with others. I did speak to tinyBuild and sadly they confirmed no current plan for a Linux version but that doesn't stop us now. I love my first-person shooters and Battle Royale games, mix in the very quirky style and it had me interested right away. Plus, it's fun to try out a same-day release with Steam Play which isn't something I often get a chance to do.

Keeping in mind it's an Early Access game, there's a lot of rough edges. That said though, there's a ridiculous amount of promise to make a good game here. So what is it? Well, it's an online co-op escape game with two teams, one playing as some sort of Zombies and the other as Humans. Get taken down by a Zombie? You join the fierce undead club. Honestly, this might be the most ridiculous game I've played in a while! Take a look at the madness:

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Matches start with everyone confined in a small space, someone ends up as a Zombie and when the countdown is over you all run like hell. Taking place in quite a big open-world, there's plenty of loot to find, vehicles to drive which are a little hilarious and it's more than a little on the freaky side. It also mixes in some elements from Battle Royale games, like the circle of doom you need to stay inside.

Having a pretty fun game like this work on Linux right away with Steam Play? CodeWeavers and Valve are doing good stuff for us. However, performance does need improving as it's not great at all. Hopefully that will come along as both Steam Play and Pandemic Express both mature.

Due to the performance (tested on both Proton 3.16 and 4.2), I won't be recommending it just yet but it's another good test for Steam Play and so I will keep checking back on it. As said, it's a promising one.

You can find it on Steam in Early Access. If you buy it in the first three days, it will gift you an extra copy. Additionally, you should see a coupon on Steam if you own any recent tinyBuild game to get extra money off.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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11 comments
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dpanter 2 May 2019 at 6:30 pm UTC
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This looks to be really great fun, love the concept.
TheBard 2 May 2019 at 7:57 pm UTC
I love Steam Play! Thanks to it, i can play Dying Light at 60 fps and the windows version of Tower of Time is more stable than the native one (but cut scenes don't work in Steam Play). I also get that it enables some people to switch to Linux which is great. I also love what you do Liam but i don't get why you regularly promote Windows only games on GamingOnLinux? You're obviously right to play what you want but as an old Linux gamer i remember the time when you were explaining people why it is important to be sure Linux sales are counted really as Linux ones. Our market share is still small, there are lots of unknown Linux native games that deserve attention and Steam Play does not provide any guarantee a game will stay playable.

If some devs would specifically target and support Steam Play, then i would be ok with it as they would be supporting Linux. There are games I would like to buy and play now. I've been waiting Shadow of the Tomb Raider for some time now. But honestly, how many people would buy a game a second time when it comes to Linux? What would happen if, when a port comes, a large part of Linux gamers already bought the Windows version? Will we reached the 0.1% market share? I'm not sure this is going to convince more devs to consider supporting Linux.

Once again, if the devs make the effort to guarantee Steam Play support, and count Steam Play as Linux sales, then i'm fine with it. It does not seem to be the case here.
Liam Dawe 2 May 2019 at 9:16 pm UTC
I feel like a broken record at this point answering this question:

TheBardI also love what you do Liam but i don't get why you regularly promote Windows only games on GamingOnLinux?
Steam Play blurs the lines between everything. It is gaming done on Linux, arguing that is silly.

I think part of the confusion is this:
TheBardOnce again, if the devs make the effort to guarantee Steam Play support, and count Steam Play as Linux sales, then i'm fine with it. It does not seem to be the case here.
Every single game purchased, be it a native game or Steam Play and then played on Linux is a Linux sale. You are supporting Linux gaming by doing it.

Valve confirmed this on day-1 of Steam Play being released, as I noted in the original article.

QuoteOur market share is still small, there are lots of unknown Linux native games that deserve attention
Across the time Steam Play has been around (6-7 months), I've only written about approximately 10 games done in Steam Play and some of those were about the developer removing Linux support. Out of around one thousand articles,that's not much for people to really get bothered about.

TheBardSteam Play does not provide any guarantee a game will stay playable
The exact same can be said for native games. Look at the Rust news, The Banner Saga, Human: Fall Flat, Phoenix Point, Heroes of Newerth and so on. There's a number that removed Linux support and just because a game is native, does not mean it will continue to work. How many times have I written about a game being updated and then broken on Linux? Too many times, in reality Steam Play is no different in this regard.


Last edited by Liam Dawe at 2 May 2019 at 9:50 pm UTC
TheBard 2 May 2019 at 10:49 pm UTC
Linux sales are very important to show developers who did make the effort to target Linux (natively or via Steam Play) that it's worth it. The best example of that may be porting companies like Feral, Aspyr or VP. Those companies (developers, publishers and porting houses targeting Linux) support Linux Gaming. Some of the developers who stop releasing Linux native build did so in favor or Steam Play. That way i'm ok with it as they're still targeting Linux: i can still send support request and they still make their best to make their game run on Linux (hopefully). I feel legitimate to send those support request.

But Valve has also been very clear that issues on games via Steam Play have not to be sent to developers but to Valve. It clearly means if game is not meant to be compatible with Steam Play, then the developers are not responsible for any issue. How could we blame developers for not supporting what they never planned to?

QuoteThe exact same can be said for native games. Look at the Rust news, The Banner Saga, Human: Fall Flat, Phoenix Point, Heroes of Newerth and so on. There's a number that removed Linux support and just because a game is native, does not mean it will continue to work. How many times have I written about a game being updated and then broken on Linux? Too many times, in reality Steam Play is no different in this regard.

That's precisely the point: those developers who released on Linux committed to support it. It means we are legitimate reporting issues to developers, it means they have to test each release against the system requirement and of course we are also legitimate complaining when they break their word. But with developers who never meant to support Linux but whose games magically started to work on Linux thanks to Steam Play: they do not owe us anything! We have no right to expect them to take time to investigate issues. We have no right to ask them not to break Steam Play compatibility.

It is basically the same think as buying a product with a warranty or without. Even if the product is the same, the services are very different as without a warranty: you can only rely on luck!
Liam Dawe 3 May 2019 at 7:50 am UTC
TheBardLinux sales are very important to show developers who did make the effort to target Linux (natively or via Steam Play) that it's worth it. The best example of that may be porting companies like Feral, Aspyr or VP. Those companies (developers, publishers and porting houses targeting Linux) support Linux Gaming.
Sorry but no. It's extremely rare for a Linux version to actually be worth it. That is the reality we face and it's the same story developers themselves tell me all the time. Linux is done as it's either made easier due to tools or out of love.

As for Feral, Aspyr and VP: We cover every single release they do, including 99% of patches and DLC. It's not like we suddenly ignore them and will never.

Even VP, their last two ports were just plain bad but I still personally purchased MXGP3 (a reader donated Gravel) and covered them even though there was no press copy. I do my part but I am not and never will be a native only zealot.

TheBardIt is basically the same think as buying a product with a warranty or without. Even if the product is the same, the services are very different as without a warranty: you can only rely on luck!
I do agree a bit there and it's a point I myself raised before. As always, i just give people the news and the decision is down to them.

And as announced before, if you don't want to see such Steam Play news feel free to add the Steam Play tag to your list of barred tags under Content Preferences on the UserCP.

Do remember we're a news site. What could be a popular game, able to play day-1 on Linux is news, simple as that.
Nanobang 3 May 2019 at 11:27 am UTC
Outfits by Marcel Marceau? Check.
Faces by Frosty the Snowman? Check.
Jumping from Valley? Well, okay. Maybe not that high, but fine. Check.
All atop a Norwegian Slow TV train? Check and double check.

Three cheers and a tiger for TALLBOYS for this wacky original FPS, and three tigers and a cheer for Valve's Steam Play that lets us play it right away!
Geppeto35 3 May 2019 at 12:13 pm UTC
review on steam and elsewhere are not that fine. Strange. Seems fun. Cannot change keys it seems? True Liam?
Liam Dawe 3 May 2019 at 1:09 pm UTC
Geppeto35review on steam and elsewhere are not that fine. Strange. Seems fun. Cannot change keys it seems? True Liam?
Currently no you can't, they have a roadmap up that sounds good though. Not a finished game remember
Patola 3 May 2019 at 2:29 pm UTC
Not a style of game I particularly like, but please continue reviewing games playable through Steam Play. I am having a blast with your latest advice (No Man's Sky). Since you like space games, I hope you eventually find out about that indie "Void Destroyer 2", a surprisingly complex space simulator with a lot in common with my beloved X4: Foundations but much more streamlined, and with cell-shaded graphics which look oddly pleasant. It's Platinum, you just press play and it runs perfectly, no adjustments needed, and the performance is stellar.


Last edited by Patola at 3 May 2019 at 2:45 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 11 May 2019 at 2:33 pm UTC
They added EAC, it's no longer playable
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