How To Survive is a fast paced, zombie survival game created by developer 505 Games. With the vast number of zombie/survival games out there, it’s extremely hard to compete in this genre, but I was quite surprised with How To Survive. Players first begin by selecting a character from a choice of 3, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Within the story mode, your character is washed up on an isolated island which is inhabited by wildlife, survivors and of course, zombies. Players must scavenge for supplies in order to survive.
Is How to Survive ahead of the rest of the zombie games or has it fallen short like so many others?
This first thing you should know about this game is its level of seriousness. How To Survive is by no means a serious game. Players may initially find the game a little daunting at first, but as you progress through the story you find that it is very lighthearted. Many characters and cut scenes in the game may seem out of place with the ominous music and hordes of screaming zombies streaming towards you, but they become a core element of the game. Within the initial 5 to 10 minutes of the playing, players will get a sense of hilarity which begins, when the player beats down a zombie senseless with a stick. Co-operative play with a friend is particularly fun, that introduces a Magicka feel to it. Camera angles and screen dragging can become a major issue, and it can all get very hectic, very fast.
How To Survive as the name suggests, has elements of survival other than combat. The game has a simplistic hunger, hydration and sleep mechanics that gives the player annoying indicators on the top left of the screen when one element is low. Food can be found all over the island from exotic fruits that can be eaten, to fresh meat that will need cooking before you can eat. Hydration is a little less complicated, as players drink from fresh water wells that are sparsely located on the map or from containers that are filled with water. Sleeping is by far the most annoying aspect of the game. Players first must locate a safe house that is not easy to find, which then must be cleared of all hostiles before be able to sleep. For a person playing alone, this can be an extremely difficult challenge. There are certain items within the game that can be consumed to replenish your sleep, but they are extremely rare.
Combat is fairly simplistic, as you have the option of melee or ranged. How you go about a combat situation is a different matter. In most cases, running into a zombie horde with a machete in hand is relatively effective. Melee weapons can also perform a special attack that causes the character to brutally decapitate, bludgeon or stab an enemy, instantly killing them. Ranged weapons are available, from a bow and arrow to handmade guns. Ranged weapons are fairly effective for most of the early game zombies, but in later levels certain zombies are immune to bullets and projectiles. Molotov cocktails and other projectiles can be found and crafted to further your options for combat. Usually when moving from location to location, players will encounter a few zombies that are easy to take down. When entering locations with key structures and objectives, the difficulty of combat seems to spike exponentially. Players may find themselves quickly surrounded and slaughtered if unprepared.
Crafting is a major part of How To Survive, and it is fairly detailed. Players can create weapons, armour and other useful items such as buff potions. Schematics and recipes can be found all over the map however players do not need to know the recipe for an item to create it. Intuitive and logical players will be able to craft fairly simple items within 10 minutes of the game. For example, a flexible branch and a reel of wire will create simple bow. Armour pieces for your character can also be made, that are usually a small upgrade on an already existing piece. Players can also brew concoctions that will buff the character temporarily, particularly useful in bleak situations. All crafting can be done within the player inventory screen, and no other external tools are required to craft the item.
The skills tree is very simple and players are given very little variation for customization. Within the tutorial, players are forced to pick the core ability of creating a fire. From there, only 3 “paths” are opened up, ranged upgrades, potions making and utility skills. The ranged skill trees are naturally, combated orientated. Quicker aiming and critical hit chances skills govern the majority of the skill branch. Later levels allow you to craft incendiary arrows and explosive arrows. The potions tree allows players to craft potions that buff their characters with quicker aiming, increased damage resistance and other cool buffs. The utility tree has only passive perks, ranging from slower hunger and hydration depreciation to double experience for kills.
How To Survive is a thoroughly enjoyable game within small doses. The story is reasonably lengthy however a lot of it is the tutorial. There is a challenge mode that adds a few more hours of gameplay but missions are uninteresting, that usually consist of grabbing an item or clearing a location of zombies. Playing with a friend makes the game a lot more enjoyable and is recommending than playing alone. Core elements of the game such as combat and survival are fine but lack depth. Crafting within the game is a very nice feature because of the detail put into it. The game supports keyboard and mouse as well as controller, however players are recommended to use a controller, as navigation of menus and combat are most suited for it. How To Survive is available for PC on Steam priced at $14.99/€13.99/£11.99.
[Editor’s Note: How To Survive was reviewed on the PC platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]How To Survive Review,