Leave no game unturned.

A player is seen (from third person view) firing at a number of of zombies with a Dragonfang (M249 SAW)

Unturned is a an indie-style Zombie survival game based around a open-world map format and crafting/building structures and objects. Made by developer Nelson Sexton, the game is completely free to play. Although a five-dollar gold version will see a bit of extra loot and skins, most people stick with the simple game itself. Zombies roam the world, mainly appearing in towns, military bases, houses, and on roads and bridges. The game has an increasingly growing Steam Workshop community and due to the standardized building, car, and object models, players can edit and create maps with ease. A recent update even added weapon skins to the game, much like CS:GO did all those years ago.

An abandoned farm on Prince Edward Island

The actual game is quite simple. The basic premise around surviving and killing zombies, but other basic game modes are available, such as quests, PvP, multiplayer role playing, and even NPCs (Non-player characters) were recently added. Players move throughout the world, finding clothes and weapons, gathering food, driving vehicles, and raiding towns. Player can even adventure into the game’s extensive backstory, filled with corrupt governments, desperate bandits, experiments gone wrong, and even ancient tribes and their relics. The newest, official map, Russia, has all of these things and more. The game has three other official maps, each varying in size, climate, and zombies. Bonus maps add to gameplay and there’s always the workshop, with over 10,000 contributions so far.

Gameplay

Players on their first map, such as PEI (Prince Edward Island, loosely based off Canada and surrounding areas), will find themselves with nothing but the clothes on their back. They can then move into towns, where they will find everything they need to survive. Advanced players can move to military sites, where army vehicles and loot are plentiful. Boats, jet skis, planes, trucks, tanks, APC’s (Armored Personnel Carriers), helicopters, and more can be found in every map.

A pilot standing by his plane with cans of Gasoline

The game is consistently and frequently updated, as it is technically alpha/early access stage. Multiplayer servers are well-organized, from my experience, and are protected by BattleEye from hackers.

The graphics, while inherently simple, are beautiful and artistic, even on lower settings. The trees and clouds are blocky, but reflect perfectly in the water and look real when placed over the rolling hills and mountains. If you prefer ultra-4K Arma III graphics, this probably won’t be a great game for you. However, the low-graphics intensity and low CPU usage make this game great for anyone, even someone with an older PC or Mac. The gameplay is realistic and the player is monitored by six bars on the lower left of the screen (Food, Water, Health, Immunity, Energy, and Oxygen). In-game maps/GPS and skills to upgrade also add a bonus.

Two rifles and several magazines next to a box of ammuntion

The weapons are varied and are based off of real-life firearms and melee weapons. Notable examples include Eaglefire (AR-15), Teklowvka (TEC-9), Grizzly (Barrett .50 Cal.), and Hell’s Fury (GAU M134 Minigun). Objects within the game allow for vehicle customization and easy-to-build houses. Recent updates added ballistics to firearms, so bullet drop and range should be taken into account. Now, here’s where the game gets really fun.

Customization

Many games have predetermined settings for loot spawn, AI difficulty, and more. However, the advanced part of world setup allows players to choose many different options. Zombie and vehicle respawn rates, zombie types, loot drops, events, weather, health-related options, weapon options, and way more can be found within the menu. This is definitely one of my favorite aspects, as it allows me to set the game to my skill level with ease. The world difficulty settings can also be changed.

In-game map editors are built within the game itself, due to the standardization of objects and buildings. Weapons and cars can also be built and entered through the workshop. Every map, object, vehicle, or NPC can be added through the workshop and into your game with the click of a button.

Overall here’s the total pros and cons of the game (I didn’t mention every pro/con in paragraph form)

Pros:

  • Fantastic gameplay
  • Free to play
  • Good graphics capability even for a lower-end computer
  • Excellent scenery and map selection
  • Experienced and varied community of players
  • Over 10,000 workshop contributions
  • Easy to use interface and extremely customizable gameplay
  • Constant updates and active developers
  • Implements BattleEye Anti-cheat
  • Single player, while a smaller aspect in many games, is challenging and different than multiplayer

Cons:

  • Somewhat basic game style, buildings and objects are blocky and unrefined compared to the standards of more graphically intensive games
  • No specific story mode, even though there are general story-based quests
  • Multiplayer scene is somewhat unfair on PvP or PvE servers, often newer players are killed constantly and dominated by older players
  • Game can get boring once all places on a map are visited
  • Looting towns and houses becomes completely pointless when better loot is obtained from military locations
  • Unbalanced loot spawns in some locations (can be edited, just an inconvenience)