I looked at this game on the recommendation of my co-writer, Sen, and honestly didn’t think much of it. Yet another Minecraft looking game with a survival kick, zombies being the threat du jour in this particular game. It’s definitely the flavour of the month with gamers and developers seem to be comfortable creating a game which barely differs from the dozens of others in the genre rather than putting a little more thought in and creating a brand new idea. Sometimes this method of constructing a game works for the developers, sometimes it doesn’t. Were it not free, I would never have found out whether it worked for Nelson Sexton or not.

As it turns out, Sen’s judgement isn’t as bad as I thought it was as the game proved to be a surprisingly fun play. It seems to have a lot more things to do for survival which lends itself well to the multiplayer side of the game. If you have a group of survivors, then you could each have a different role in the survival of your group, for example, in my group of friends we had a couple of constant scavengers, a person tending to our crops and a builder. This dynamic worked well because it meant we always had a constant food supply, lots of equipment and a brilliant base in which to store all of our goods. The building and crafting aspect could certainly use a little more refining because it’s not quite right just yet, but as it’s still in early access, it’s definitely forgivable. Despite this, there is still a wide variety of options to build and create to make your base an impregnable fortress.

Zombie 'horde'

Zombies approach!

What surprised me was the character creator and the customisability of your character in what they wear. The initial creator is limited, but it still offers a decent amount of hair and faces for your character, some of which brought a smile to my face. It has even been extended further with the new beta that the developer has brought out, which I was a little upset with as it moved my favourite face from being free content into the gold content, but that’s not a major issue, there are still a lot to choose from. Despite being quite a blocky game, there is a vast amount you can do with your character. The selection of clothes in the game, especially in the beta, is pretty incredible. There’s a lot of variety in there, and it can be especially funny seeing a zombie going about his business wearing a chef hat and uniform. It shows the developer really paid great attention to every aspect of this game.

The game comes with a few maps that are very well created. The towns in the world actually feel like they used to be populated and they have been created so it looks as though it was once a point of resistance against the zombies. The world and environment feels lifelike, more than most other games I’ve played in recent times. There’s also a lot of places that are hidden, behind the scenes or in a secret base, even on the relatively small Prince Edward Island map, there’s so much to see, and so many places to try and find the best strategic position for your own base.

Empty towns

Desolation – A town lost to zombiekind

The gold content is something that normally I’m not really in favour of as it encourages a pay to win aspect, but it’s not like that in Unturned. All the premium content does is unlock premium features on premium servers, or additional character creation faces. The way this is set up is perfect and the way all developers should do the in-app purchases, because it gives everyone a level playing field and doesn’t give preferential treatment to anyone.

Due to it being in beta still, it’s very difficult to criticise the game, and even if it were a full release, it’s still very good, the only things that aren’t quite complete yet, the developer is working on. Releases are provided for this game almost every week. It seems that almost every time I open up Steam the game updates! It looks as though this game is very much en route to becoming fantastic, and in your search for a brilliant, free, survival game, this is a stone you should definitely not leave unturned.

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Alex Booth
Alex Booth

I know what you mean about Unturned, you look at the pics and think that the graphics are so terrible that the game must be unbearable. As soon as you start getting into it though you completely forgot about the low poly visuals. You cant go wrong with the price tag either!