By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), Resident Survivalist
Every gamer just can’t get enough of zombies, the undead that loves to nibble on your fresh meat is probably the most common game monster to appear over the last couple years and undoubtedly will still be for years to come. The last couple of weeks I took my time to delve into the world of Unturned, a new game that recently was published on the steam store and bears many similarities to a couple other zombie titles. The key selling point here is Unturned focuses much more heavily on the roleplaying aspect of the zombie survival story. Currently the game is still in the very early stages of development, but unlike many other games in this stage, Unturned feels finished and well-polished, and at this point it could only get even better with continual tweaks and content updates.
The game that comes to mind when you look at Unturned’s voxel world is Minecraft. Just like the position Warcraft held in the early days of themepark MMORPGs, Minecraft now stands as the juggernaut most sandbox online games are trying to copy. Every object or detail in Unturned is made out of blocks, but unlike Minecraft, it is done in much higher textures so the graphics overall look a lot better. And where Minecraft specializes in building and crafting, survival is the top priority of Unturned. And at first it can be quite a difficult challenge. Besides the zombies trying to get a bite of you, you will also battle against hunger and thirst since there is no one at the local fast food restaurant serving up burgers.
The first priority you have is finding some tools while salvaging enough food and water to get you by. As you travel, acquiring a larger backpack will be required to gain any level resource management to expand beyond this simple initial gameplay. The backpack is perhaps the hardest and most important item to get while you are just a new and lonely survivor. If you have a backpack, you are able to store a lot more items in your inventory and every inventory slot will make your life notably easier. Food can easily be found in any store, but only a few products are healthy to eat so make sure you do not poison yourself. Fighting off zombies is hard enough when you’re on your A-Game.
Last but not least is finding yourself a proper weapon; I would advise to run with a melee weapon until you find a backpack, because ammunition is hard to come by and takes up key storage space you’ll need for supplies early on. Once you get used to the control scheme, a melee weapon is often the best way to deal with zombies anyway. I can also recommend you to get the Warrior skill, since it helps you deal more damage to the zombies. When killing zombies you will get experience, which can be used RPG style to unlock skills and character enhancements to improve your survival prowess.
Unturned is a sandbox game in the apocalypse survival genre and heavily focuses on its core gameplay mechanics to let the player experience a lot of fun whether alone or with others. After a couple hours of gameplay to get my bearings, I set up my own server with some people I met online to customize our fun. There are also a ton of public servers for the people that do not have the tools to host their own, so do not worry about needing to know people to get onto a server. In our own server, we felt stronger than ever before since we weren’t alone fighting hordes of zombies, but we were together and we were able to set bigger goals to have our group survive this horrible apocalypse. With a coordinated team, the potential of the crafting system became more apparent as we plundered whole villages for building resources.
Unturned isn’t just a game where you fight zombies randomly with whatever weapon you have on hand. Eventually your town’s food and material resources are going to run dry. And since it isn’t safe to live in a village or city anymore, you are better off building your own establishment and perhaps farm some crops. Unturned goes a bit more in depth than most zombie survival games in this regard. You can build your own utopian towns complete with farmlands. As you scavenge you can even find crafting recipes to boost your building potential. You can also level up your crafting, making you able to craft the more important structures or supplies. Finding or making the best crafting tools is also key to ensure the security of your home away from zombieville so that you can chat with your friends in peace from time to time.
Current State of the Beta: Great
Unturned has once again proven that a beautiful set of graphics is not needed to have a successful game. And even though the graphics right now are all in a good place for voxels, it may be judged as just another Minecraft clone by zombie survival enthusiasts. Don’t judge this book by its cover as the gameplay within is as solid as it gets. Unturned is a game that you will enjoy playing either alone or together with your friends. The game still has much left to be developed, but the features here are addicting enough on their own to keep you hooked for weeks. With the addition of making your own structures and crafting, there are a ton of roleplaying possibilities, and players are more likely to build their own player story together. If you are a fan of zombie survival games, you should definitely check out Unturned as its one of the few free options on the market.