Six years after its initial release on the PC, Smartly Dressed Games, Unturned, has finally garnered a console release. This blocky zombie survival game has been well received as a free-to-play game on Steam over the past few years. Think Roblox combined with a little bit of Minecraft and the post-apocalyptic survival gameplay of Day-Z, and essentially, that’s Unturned in a nutshell.
Upon first glance, it’s hard to see why it is so popular, but after spending a bit of time with Unturned, it’s evident that there’s more to it than expected. There’s a lot of possibilities in this game – from building your own landscapes, foraging, taking down the shambling undead horde, farming, fishing, and hunting. The real challenge comes from other players – often deaths are attributed to their attacks more so than the slow and quite easy to manage zombies.
In Unturned, players are dropped into a location with minimal hand-holding. You start with no weapons or items, and must search for supplies in order to craft your essential items. Of course, these bits and pieces are in zombie-infested areas, so this becomes a task of slowly creeping from place to place to keep yourself alive. Eventually after weapons, tools, food and water (to increase your health) are found, there’s an option to craft a base to protect yourself from the undead.
You’ll be forgiven in thinking that Unturned is aimed at kids due to the often childish graphics, but this is far from the case. The zombies, although slow moving or routed to one spot, can be quite tough to take down, even what appears to be a decent weapon in hand. Players will find themselves dying quite often, from either attacks from zombies or other players themselves.
In the console versions, Unturned offers the opportunity to choose to play solo on one of the eight maps, or join up with up to 24 players online. The maps are all very different from one another, and offer the opportunity to visit towns, beaches and forest areas from around the world. While the buildings within them aren’t necessarily unique to one another, there’s enough of a change in the landscape in order to make this quite refreshing to jump between.
I found that the Xbox One version did encounter some glitches which not only added to the overall game difficulty, but made gameplay a tad frustrating. For instance, pressing A on an item should pick it up, but sometimes nothing happened when selected. I found one time where I was desperately trying to pick up an axe I had found in a wardrobe – the doors of the wardrobe kept repeatedly closing despite being hovered over the weapon. Sometimes, items were half-sunk into the floor or walls, making them impossible to pick up, and controlling could at times, feel a little sluggish.
Building shelters is quite straight-forward, but it can seem a little tricky to find the weapons and items that you require in order to build one (an axe, for example). One quite welcome addition to Unturned is the character progression. Players will get the option to choose up to four characters, that each have their own perks and stats. The medic for example, has greater healing abilities, while firefighters have increased strength. Taking down zombies adds to character experience, which then improves these skills the more you progress.
Unturned offers an excellent take on the popular open-world survival genre, one that admittedly may take an hour or two to warm to. Playing solo feels like quite a lonely experience that is lacking the fun that the online mode provides, and so in this case, I would highly recommend diving into the official servers to play with random players. Be warned though – not everyone was that inviting, but occasionally you’ll find people who just want others to team up and help them with shelter building and zombie takedowns. The PC version benefits from years of updates, something that the console edition is lacking, but updates are promised so it’ll be interesting to see how much of this experience will migrate too.
There are moments where the game feels a little unpolished – the graphical bugs for instance, and the simplistic design might not be for everyone, but there’s definitely a lot here to play with, if you’re prepared to sink some time into it.
Unturned is available now on PC (Steam), Xbox One and PS4.
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