The Walking Dead: Assault is the first game in a series of top-down real-time strategy games based on The Walking Dead comic book series. It is set in the original survival horror zombie universe where walkers roam the world. Players control familiar characters such as Shane, Rick, Carl, Lori, Sophie, Dale, Andrea and Glenn as a team to complete missions. The setting and the tasks borrow heavily from the first comic book Days Gone By. The visual style is cel shaded and entirely in black-and-white, save for minor elements such as blood and important objects.
Before starting the game the player assembles a team from a roster of over ten characters. Not all of them are available right away, they are unlocked gradually by completing missions. Each character has two different weapons (melee and ranged), a special move when overwhelmed, team bonuses, and different parameters for health and running speed. Stars earned during missions can be spent on team bonuses that influence ammo capacity, damage, health, adrenaline, and items such as explosive flares. Players tap the team to control the group through different locations, moving them as a single squad or individually. The characters fire automatically when a walker is in sight. Different types of items can be used and it is possible to switch between weapons. The game is divided into different chapters, each with a main and a bonus objective. Completing bonus objectives is rewarded with wallpapers, behind-the-scenes trivia and Game Center achievements.
Sound plays an important role in the game as it attracts walkers. The player is encouraged to use melee combat or distractions such as activating fire hydrants or car alarms to lure the walkers away. When too much noise is made, often a horde of walkers is triggered that is much harder to dispose of. A noise meter shows the current situation. Ammo is limited and can be replenished by what walkers leave behind. Often comic book panels pop up that show walkers or certain events from up close. Next to walkers there are also hostile humans to deal with who, when killed, also return as walkers. Players can zoom in or out by pinching.