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Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Project Zomboid 19 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 5 months ago.
Play involves strategically investigating properties to find safety and resources. Great care is needed as zombies can both see and hear. If you get caught in the open you will be swarmed by hundreds of them. You can use shadows and line of sight to stay hidden.
As you progress more of the depth of the game becomes apparent. You'll find yourself turning off lights and hanging sheets over windows to avoid being spotted. Vehicles can move you around quicker, but make more sound and need fuel. You can 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.
Along with survival you also need to help your character deal with depression, boredom, hunger, thirst and illness. Having a hobby can help. Farming, fishing, carpentry, cooking and trapping are useful pursuits. To do well at these you need to practice and read up on the skills and perks you need. Then there are the changing seasons, faltering electricity, generators needing fuel and other impositions of the game world.
The result is an intricately detailed game that requires high skill, planning and the stomach for bone crunching, head squelching combat to survive. Although it is brutal, it's interesting because of the freedom (and complexity) it offers the player to survive their own way.
You can play this game in the following styles:
When zombies are attacked they are visibly injured with blood and flesh flying from them. When they are dead they collapse to the floor leaving a pool of blood. You can use a variety of weapons and firearms to attack the zombies, or just stomp on their heads until they are squished.
The developer states that they "would underline that this is a mature game dealing with adult subjects. Parental discretion is certainly advised."
14+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. The difficulty of the game requires careful planning, patience and resilience. Younger players need to be able to cope with losing after putting in time and effort, and learning from this rather than getting frustrated.
Release Date: 08/11/2013
Out Now: Mac and PC
Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
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