If you don’t know how to survive a zombie apocalypse by now, you deserve to die when it happens. The dead are everywhere, commandeering our telly boxes, consoles, comic books and cinemas, so it comes as no surprise that we find ourselves trawling through yet another release that opts to shine a light on the bustling sub-genre.
At first glance it may look as if How To Survive is just another twin-stick shooter that tasks you with mowing down hordes of zombies until you’ve reached that sacred end credits screen, which takes a moment to tell you about all the lovely people who went through hell to bring it to you. How To Survive is that game, but with a dash of something extra, because not only does it task you with the latter, it also places a heavy emphasis on tending to the needs of the various characters, Sims-style.
While indicators that constantly make you aware of how much sleep, food and water each soul needs may seem like a daunting task, it’s not. The developer has chosen to litter areas with reams of supplies that can be nabbed – in most cases – with little to no inconvenience. Scouting for supplies in any zombie-related game should be a fearful task, one filled with a sense of dread at the prospect of getting mauled, surrounded or stranded with limited health or ammo. EKO Software’s latest lacks this basic, and essential, design trait in spades.
There’s a crafting system at play too, but yet again EKO plays it too safe by making it far too easy for players to track down ingredients. Oh and it pauses the game while you cook up an explosive or health pack. The whole point of crafting in games such as this one is to create a sense of urgency, so in doing this, it defeats the purpose of the game mechanic entirely.
Still, that’s not to say How To Survive doesn’t know how to have fun. The writing, for all that it’s worth in such a shallow storyline, packs a giggle or two, and there are some fun weapons to get your mitts on, coupled with a game saving co-op mode that’s playable both offline and online. Unfortunately, while you can see that there are some good ideas here, it’s simply not enough to pull any self-respecting zombie fan away from the brilliance of Undead Labs’ breathtakingly addictive State Of Decay.