Today's Game: Project Zomboid

This is the story of how you die.

Project Zomboid is a zombie survival game about surviving... and dying. Like the last game i wrote about, this is also a sandbox game. You play out your own destiny by trying to live for as long as possible. The graphics are old school and pixelated, but fits the game, in my opinion.

The gameplay goes a little something like this:

  1. Make a character.
  2. Choose a map or a challenge.
  3. Survive.
  4. Die.
Yes, that's the tutorial raccoon.

You try to stay alive by looking for things such as food, water, weapons, and shelter. Find a safe-ish house to stay in, get a car, go look for things to survive. It's up to you. Multiplayer is also supported in Project Zomboid, which adds cooperation as an extra aspect of the game. You can protect each others back, bandage each other, go for a resource run, or just barricade a house.

Watch out for hunger, thirst, the weather, depression, and panic attacks. This game isn't a dumbed down casual survival game. You might get bitten by a zombie within minutes of starting the game, get infected and die. Rinse and repeat. No progress is saved. You can actually get killed by your last character played, which has now become a zombie.

You have to look for food, something to drink, weapons and other useful stuff to survive.

Project Zomboid has really nice survival mechanics. The game seeks to be somewhat realistic, like with how line of sight is implemented. Let me give you three specific examples:

  • Even though the perspective is top down, you can't spot enemies that comes up behind you and you can't see through walls of buildings.
  • When you want to climb into an house you have to pay attention to glass from broken windows. You have to remove the glass so you don't cut yourself on it.
  • If you don't change your bandage in time, you will get punished for it. Don't wear an old nasty bandage.

The game has quite a few challenges, which is a game mode, kind of. Like the challenge "House In The Woods - Last Stand", where you have to take a stance and kill hordes of zombies.

There are quite a few game modes to choose from, the same goes for maps.

The people behind the game, The Indie Stone, are working on a graphical and gameplay overhaul which is in beta now. This is the famous version 41 patch. I'm looking forward to trying it out once it's released as stable.

I have played the game for several hours now and it's still fun, but things can get a bit repetitive and there isn't really any endgame to speak of. At one point you can't find that many new things to do. If the base game gets boring you can install some mods to spice things up though.

Project Zomboid has been in early access for around 8 years now. Maybe we should have expected more from the developers when it comes to content and improvements of the game, and for the speed of the development? They could add some interesting NPCs (merchants or survivors?) or some dynamic content that made each "play through" more unique and dynamic. I know that there are mods out there, as I mentioned above, but I wish the base game had a little more to cater.

I played version 40.43 of the game before publishing this review.

Conclusion

It's a sandbox game with permadeath. You try to survive for as long as possible. The concept is simple enough and I have to take it for what it is. I've had fun playing the game, even though it can feel a bit meaningless and repetitive at times.

The development of the game is fairly slow and the developers still have a lot of work ahead of them before they fulfill what they set themselves as goals for the 1.0 release.

Rating: 7/10

Metadata

Genres: Survival, open world, sandbox
Release year: 2013
Early access? Yes
Free to play? No
Open source? No
Cross-platform? No
Multiplayer? Yes, online or local co-op.
GNU/Linux support? Yes
Available on GOG.com? Yes

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