So, I’m a sucker for anything related to Zombies. Who isn’t these days? I completed my weekly steam search to see once again Project Zomboid populate the results. I’ve seen it several times before and have always been tempted by it’s zombie survival/scavenge theme but it looks like it was made 20 years ago. The graphics are “Retro”(Like many others these days) and the game is laid out on an isometric grid. No offence to the artists but I personally don’t appreciate games using pixel art, it’s one of the ugliest games I’ve seen. There’s no such thing as retro graphics, just ugly graphics. Like mobile phones, retro just doesn’t work. You don’t see people walking around showing off their awesome looking, retro Nokia 3210 because they don’t look awesome, they look naff!
However, I did download it and for one reason only… the demo! That’s right, a demo. I remember as a young teenager walking into real shops where I could purchase real PC magazines which had these things called CDs celotaped to the front which always contained half a dozen demos, perfect for ‘try before you buy’. You could play them for 15minutes or so, turn around and say “That was fun, that will be a good game…one day!” Ring a bell? It’s almost like one of the many hundreds of BETAs that you can pay £15 for the privilege of a mere 15minutes play time, but I digress.
So the game…
Everything I’ve been looking for in zombie survival: realism, tension, terror, scavenging, the feeling of never being safe knowing that a single scratch from a Zombie may cause you to become infected but you don’t realise until 20 minutes later you die and have to start from complete…wait for it…scratch! There is so much loot in the game and plenty complexity both currently in the game and in it’s development plans.
A typical start: Spawn in a random house. Loot up. Great! Found school bag. Extra carrying capacity. Found a weapon…well kind of…anything you think could be a weapon, IS. Armed with a butter knife and a rolling pin, found in the kitchen drawer, I leave the apparent safety of the house in search of better loot. I see a few Zombies in the distance. They don’t see me. I reach the next house. Door’s locked. Window? Success. Search downstairs. No weapons but some more food and some newspapers for when my character gets bored. Upstairs. First room. Turn on lights. Find sheets. I can use the sheets to make curtains so that Zombies can’t see me running around inside the house. Good. Find a new skirt too, pink. Sexy. Second room. Zombies! Two of them. My FPS instincts kick in and I ram the butter knife through the Zombie brain like a hot… It makes a satisfying splat to tell me it’s dead. Knife – broken. Switch to rolling pin. Begin assault on Zombie number 2. Several swings later – she’s down. Meanwhile indicators are telling me that I’m exhausted, thirsty, hungry, scared and bleeding. Open health tab. Bleeding – Scratched. Rip pink skirt into bandages. Sob. Stopped bleeding. Drink water from house toilet/tap, can’t tell. Eat. Move to next house. Go straight to window. Locked. Smash it? No Zombies in sight. Sure. Mistake. House alarm. Zombies from the North – 10. South -12. West – 6. East – too many. Leg it. A few follow. Back into first house. Close door. Zombies at window. Smash. Zombies in Kitchen. Run upstairs. Close bedroom door. Craft sheets into sheet rope to abseil out of window. No nails to fix sheet. Bugger. Jump out the window? Yes. Take lots of damage. Hobble to next house. Find food. Find PISTOL…find AMMO. Bingo.Go outside. Test pistol? Zombie insta-kill. Satisfying. Mistake. Louder than alarm. 30+ Zombies. 10 bullets. Could run? Don’t. Mistake. The end.
That’s only the beginning of the game. After a random amount of time electricity and water within the city will fail at which point you will eventually perish unless you have managed to gather enough resources to make a camp with defences, veg plots and rain collectors. A true test of survival in every sense. Did I mention that they have just successfully opened up multiplayer!
This is a BETA. A potentially, truly brilliant game.
I bought it. I love it.
FREE DEMO through Steam. Guaranteed you’ll buy it after that!