I’ve been tracking this game for quite some time now and I had to update the outlook on this game because there’s been some good movement. So for this update I downloaded the latest build and just started playing to find the new features and revisit the old ones. Normally a reviewer explains the game, their likes and/or dislikes then either advises against or recommends the game. In this case I highly recommend to anyone to pick it up and play it. Now with that, there is a big caustion – this is a playbale Alpha version and not a final product, or even beta version. Yet I recommend you buy it right now and play it.
It’s a great Concept. It’s a true survival horror game that you cannot survive. The premise of the game is simple, you will die, you cannot win. You’re placed into a world where you have the means to survive, but for how long? The world you play in is infested with zombies – where a bit will kill you but there’s so much more to this game. The fact that a scratch can lead to death, or not, but you’ll never know until it happens leads to a sense of tension few games have. One way of putting it is that’s it’s the Sims with game play; a Sims for guys. Except you don’t build a house and furnish it, more like – you build a fortress and try to stay alive.
You usually start in a house or apartment that has some supplies. You can only stay there for so long though. You will need to head out and gather more supplies, food, water, weapons, and items to keep yourself alive. You can choose any place as a base of operations or live from place to place and just carry the essentials, it’s up to you the player to survive. It’s not about collecting enough stuff to stay alive, you’ll need to sleep, a place to cook food, and be safe. As of this build you can’t look at indicator bars to see how tired, hungry or happy you are and I hope they never add them. That would just reduce the game down to filling bars and go to Sims with it.
Right so back to the actual point – go buy it and play it but remember this is alpha, there’s gong to be bugs, strange behavior and a lot of builds in between this and a final product. Just in the last 24 hours there’s been like 3 builds for version 2.0. So if you’re the type to nitpick unfinished products stay away, otherwise pick it up. There’s going to be balancing issues as well so what you will be playing, currently isn’t the end product. And despite all this, it’s still a very enjoyable game to play, bugs and all. I wish the ability to save was in, but that will happen eventually, so for now I just keep my game running.
For this updated look at the game, I just got the latest build and started playing it. So the article will be a bit disjointed. There been many changes from the last build I played, which was 1.5.
The first thing that’s noticable is the graphics. This isn’t a high end PC eye splitting spectacular here but it has a great visual style.
The graphics have a more detailed and organic look to them now. It has a less sharper look to it. This looks to be a combination of better tiles and much better lighting.
As far as game play changes – this 2.0 build adds a lot of bug fixes but a number of things that were’t in the previous build as you can see that the game will have a lot more depth to it. So far I’ve gotten hungry – this is nothing new, but now my guy is thirsty, so you’ll have to make sure you have a good supply of orange soda, well water too, but I’m fully stocked with orange soda.
Boredom is now something to consider. As I stood around the game my guy started to get bored. I had found a book and a notepad. I put the notepad together with the pencil in the toolbox (where things are crafted) and created a 20 page journal for myself. This took away the boredom for now.
I still like how, at night, the world is a scary place. You have very limited visibility so it’s best to have a light source like a flashlight or wait until the sun comes up. This is what I did and when I went to the neighbor’s house to root for supplies I ran into a zombie (or zomboid) in the house and two outside. They see me and start heading towards me and I have no weapon. The two outside can see me through the window so they’re not going away. They start banging on the door…and now I’m kind of stuck.
After that I got very tired and hungry so I had to head back to my house and take care of those things. Over the next while I gather supplies from nearby houses. Items act like you think they should, refrigerated food need to be kept cold or it will spoil. Canned food need a can opener to get to, etc. But items also should degrade over time, such as melee weapons, and tools. This all together shows that there’s no way to gather a few items and sit back and relax.
One strange thing I noticed, as I was gathering supplies – I started to get bored. Not sure if this is normal (it is alpha) but this is not the time to be bored As for the zombies – the heart of the game as they are the motivation that keep you going. You have to avoid them, kill them and defend against them. If they spot you they will follow you, if you make noise they will follow you. One thing I like is that they can see you through an open window, so either you can board it up or draw the curtains. Boarding them up will add to their strength, same goes for doors. I have had hordes of zombies spot me then start hammering at the door, which has it’s own health bar and it will fall. So you have to build defenses as well a have an exit strategy. To board up the door you need hammer, nails and wood – this and everything seems to have a natural and common sense thought behind them.
As a fun fact I gathered up 6 cans of food, I have my pot to cook them, yet I have no can opener…I think that was a Twilight Zone episode!
So I have gathered a few days worth of supplies; I can sit back and relax. This is the part of the game I wonder about the most. I am safe, have plenty of food and things to keep me entertained. I don’t really need anything immediately I could always use a better weapon and since my house doesn’t have any real defenses I could use some hammer, nails and wooden planks. Also an ax would come in handy as you can chop doors down into wooden planks. But for now I could stand around and buy some time. So what to do? Well, for starters it would be nice if I could sit, at least give the impression that my guy is doing nothing but not just standing there.
I did find some booze and cigarettes, good for killing boredom. I did see an NPC walking outside of my house, you can join up with them, but they just follow you around and so far there isn’t too much to do with them. Although they’ll just want my stuff so I will stick to going it solo for now. So when standing around, what can you really do? I’m not sure if there’s plans for dealing with this downtime. I was thinking maybe put in mini games like playing cards, or at least have the character do tasks like the Sims – the things you do to stave off boredom would take time, for now they are instant. This would break up the time doing something. You can fast forward the clock but I don’t really like doing that.
**Oh and a note, the smoking and drinking didn’t help my character’s boredom but the booze helped put a goofy look on my face.
As the time went by I did get a chance to upgrade a skill, and this is new, and gives an added layer to game play. As long as you’re surviving, might as well improve your lot in life. So I’ll continue to play, you continue to check backs for updates.
If you’d like to discuss this, or anything else, we have a brand new forum, as always you can follow me on twitter @mprshane oh and you can create your own ranked games list.
UPDATE: I can be found over at randomshane.com continuing to do my games, comics & movie thing