Project Zomboid is the ultimate in zombie survival. Alone or in MP: you loot, build, craft, fight, farm and fish in a struggle to survive. A hardcore RPG skillset, a vast map, massively customizable sandbox and a cute tutorial raccoon await the unwary.
Developer: The Indie Stone
Platforms: Steam, GOG
Modes: Singleplayer, Multiplayer via player host or dedicated servers.
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Status: Early Access
- Hardcore Sandbox Zombie Survival Game with a focus on realistic survival.
- Online multiplayer survival with persistent player run servers.
- Local 4 player split-screen co-op
- Hundreds of zombies with swarm mechanics and in-depth visual and hearing systems.
- Full line of sight system and real-time lighting, sound and visibility mechanics. Hide in the shadows, keep quiet and keep the lights off at night, or at least hang sheets over the windows.
- Vast and growing map (loosely based on a real world location) for you to explore, loot and set up your fortress.
- Vehicles with full physics and deep and realistic game play mechanics.
- Use tools and items to craft weapons, barricade and cook. You can even build zombie proof forts by chopping trees, sawing wood and scavenging supplies.
- Deal with depression, boredom, hunger, thirst and illness while trying to survive.
- Day turns to night. The electricity falters. Hordes migrate. Winter draws in. Nature gradually starts to take over.
- Farming, fishing, carpentry, cooking, trapping, character customization, skills and perks that develop based on what you do in-game.
- Proper zombies that don’t run. (Unless you tell them to in the sandbox menu).
- A ton of amazing atmospheric music tracks by the prodigy that is Zach Beever.
- Imaginative Challenge scenarios and instant action ‘Last Stand’ mode, on top of regular Sandbox and Survival
- Full, open and powerful Lua modding support.
- Xbox Controller Gamepad support on Windows. [Others pads can be set up manually. Gamepad support not currently available on Mac]
Project Zomboid has an array of mechanics to up the survival & realism of gameplay. Environmental (day/night, seasons, weather), traditional (food, water, injury), mental (depression, boredom), and more. It can be very intricate to balance.
Project Zomboid was released in 2013, but I only started hearing about it at the start of 2022. In December of 2021, they released a massive update to their (previously released but badly flawed) multiplayer system, causing the game to take off like a rocket. If you’ve dicked around my website or podcast for longer than five minutes, you know I never watch any videos on a game beyond whatever the developer happens to add to their Steam/GOG store page. So I did pick up the game on sale and screwed around with it a little to see what the fuss was about.
I’m not traditionally a fan of pairing survival with top-down view- I guess I like feeling that first-person point of view when being munched on by a critter or zombie. However, I love the rest of their feature list on paper- seeing depression and boredom listed as things to balance is pretty cool. In practice, the hours I spent within the game felt really clunky. For me, it's hard to go from the gorgeous visuals of something like Icarus to something cartoon-like or illustrated. The controls felt fucking clunky to me, but that could be because I was also trying to adapt to the point of view from above. For example, I hate the cumbersome menu-based interaction for opening doors or windows.
I benched the game reasonably quickly- I can see why folks love it, but it doesn't click with me now. Either way, I'll give it a thumbs up and encourage folks to check it out.
- 3/12/23- Changelog added.