When I stumbled across 7 Days to Die in early June, just like JumpToGamer, not many people had heard of it. I saw something in it however and pre-ordered for the bargain price of $14.99 (This was before the Kickstarter even started). But since then, 7 Days to Die has become one of the hottest topics of August, what with the end of the Kickstarter campaign which managed to raise over $500k, as well as the launch of the much anticipated Alpha. I never expected 7D2D to become as big as it has, but the game deserves it, and so do the guys at The Fun Pimps.
The launch of the Alpha wasn’t quite what many people had expected, but with virtually everyone now able to play the game, is it actually any good? Well 7 Days to Die is an Open-World Sandbox Zombie Survival Crafting Game set in a voxel-based world. You are dumped into the world with nothing but the clothes on your back. From there you have to survive for as long as possible, looting and building during the day, and bunkering down or defending yourself at night. That is what 7 Days to Die is all about, surviving. Most zombie games either released or in development follow these principles, but 7 Days to Die can do something none of those can – allow players the freedom to build whatever they please.
For a voxel-based game, visually 7 Days to Die is impressive considering the type of game it is. Its biggest strength is never going to be its graphics, but they have done a great job making the game look nothing like Minecraft, which I can assure you it is not a clone of! From the buildings, trees and wasteland to the rivers and zombies themselves, everything looks closer to their real-life counterparts than just pixelated blocks.
The map itself is an acceptable size, but as it is not Procedurally generated, it can feel a bit small at times and repetitive. With plenty of places to explore and to make your stand, it’s not an issue and will be expanded with new areas and locations as the game progresses through development. There are several different biomes, ranging from Woodland and deserts to a wasteland and scorched earth – evidence of the Nuclear attack which resulted in this zombie outbreak. Throughout the world are scattered small enclaves of houses, as well as the occasional farm and small city/town. Pressing M will bring up a Map of the world which will allow you to see where is the best place to head to and in what direction. It does take away a little from the challenge of finding your own way around the world, but I can live with it.
The area where the game shines the most is of course in its building and destruction of the world. Chopping down trees or mining stone will provide you with valuable materials which you will need to either reinforce your base with or to build it from scratch. The zombies will attack your base constantly and it will eventually collapse if not repaired, so it’s crucial you choose your material carefully. Building a wooden house for example wouldn’t stand a chance of lasting the night compared to a brick house. With zombies becoming faster and more lethal during the night, it’s a race against time during the day to acquire what you need for another night of survival. 7 Days to Die also features a realistic Physics System, where you will not be able to build across indefinitely without support beams to hold up your structure, as well as having buildings collapse if there isn’t support structures left in place.
Crafting is also a major feature. Anyone who has played Minecraft on PC will be familiar with the crafting in 7 Days to Die. You have to place your materials in the right position in order to produce the item you want to make. The only issue being that there is no guide in-game to help you out with what materials you need. However on the crafting tab you will see a list of items you can make based on the items you have in your inventory. You just need to figure out what items you need to place and where they go, although the boxes are highlighted where items need to be placed, it just doesn’t tell you what ones. If you are really stuck, you can head on over to the wiki page where they show how to craft all the items.
Some examples of items you can craft involve traps such as wooden spikes you can place around your perimeter to keep zombies, and players, away from your base. Other items include Axes and Pickaxes which make chopping and mining quicker and easier. Throughout the world you will find furniture which you can take with you, or of course create yourself. However they are purely for decoration, but if your making a new house, you want some chairs or a bed to “pretend” sit or sleep on right?
As you would expect, you have a Health, Hunger, Thirst and Stamina meter. All of which have an effect on each other so it’s important you remain in the best shape possible. Allowing your thirst or hunger meter to run down will cause your character to begin losing health which can end up in death. If your thirst and hunger meters are too low they will also cause your stamina bar to fill up more slowly which will reduce your ability to destroy blocks fast. The higher your stamina bar, the less punches or chops it will take to remove a block or tree, so it’s vital that you stay healthy so it can recover quickly.
Loot is easy to find currently, and if anything is too common. But it gives you a nice chance to have fun with pretty much unlimited guns and ammo, providing you keep looking, and get to learn the game before it will inevitably get changed to be more realistic. My one tip would be to stock up on your scrap metal to make Iron Ingots to make Axes and Pickaxes among other useful tools and equipment.
My most enjoyable times during 7 Days to Die were when playing with friends and other players. Multiplayer support is somewhat lacking at the moment, with the number of players limited to just 4. But this will improve with more functions and support for multiplayer being added as development progresses. There are multiple guides available to help you set up your own server so the forum may be a good place to check out, even if you would rather find players who already have a server and are looking for players.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing 7 Days to Die, and will continue to do so. It’s a game which can be different on each play-through and allows the player freedom to explore and build whatever they want. I do wish that the Day was extended as it comes and goes in a flash, especially when you are frantically trying to repair your structure in-time for the zombie onslaught the following night. But being in Alpha I’m sure it will be tweaked and changed how they see fit. One other issue I do have with the game is that at present zombies always know your location, whether you are moving around and sat still for the whole night. Hopefully stealth and better Zombie AI will lead to this no longer being the case, but being in Alpha I won’t be too critical about it.
7 Days to Die has an extremely bright future, and I can’t wait for Alpha update 2. The potential a game like this possesses is huge, as has been shown by it’s growing popularity. With more features in development and planned, 7 Days to Die will without a doubt become one of the biggest zombie games, and is well worth the $35 it is currently available for.
If you would like to buy 7 Days to Die and get access to the Alpha, Beta and Full release, you can buy it from their official website: http://7daystodie.com/buy/