previews\ Jun 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

How to Survive puts you up against zombies, hunger, and nature


I spent a brief amount of time checking out How to Survive at E3. The game, currently in development by EKO Studios, is being touted as more than just a regular ol' zombie title. I was told by a 505 Games representative that this upcoming project is more of a survival game with zombies in it as opposed to being a flat-out zombie experience. The focus here, as dictated by the title, is more on the aspect of surviving, with zombies acting as just one of the many obstacles that players will be facing.

While combat is an essential mechanic in How to Survive, there seems to be more focus on just scavenging for supplies and being well-equipped for the harsh elements around you. Loot collection is a big part of this experience, and you must constantly be collecting everything from twigs to pieces of debris and so on. These items can then be used to craft supplies, weapons, shelter, and other gear. Bows, fishing equipment, and melee weapons are just three examples of what you can craft in How to Survive. Collecting different types of loot will also allow you to upgrade and improve these items, and leveling up will grant you a skill point that can be used to boost your attributes.

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Everything you create needs to have a purpose. Your character is dealing with not only zombies, but with hunger and fatigue as well. That's why it's pivotal that you constantly have the necessary items (such as the aforementioned fishing gear) to gather food or a good shelter to get some rest. Sometimes you'll come across dropped goods including water and snacks, and these can be used to replenish your stats and continue on for a bit longer. The hunger and rest mechanics in How to Survive are actually really interesting, because it's easy to see tense scenarios where you're dealing with hordes of zombies while your hunger and sleep meters fall low. How all of these factors combined will play out could make for an appropriately nerve-wracking experience.

As if zombies, hunger, and lack of sleep weren't daunting enough, you also have to deal with a day-and-night cycle. Certain enemies aren't very fond of light, so keeping a flashlight on you is extremely necessary. You never know when you'll have to shine a bright light on these creatures to keep them at bay. Of course, it'll probably be difficult for you to do so when you also see zombies coming toward you from another angle and you need to take those out with a bow or blunt weapon.

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The story mode in How to Survive features five different islands for you to check out. Crafting the right equipment opens up new areas and allows you to explore deeper into the game and progress further. As you continue on your adventure, you can come across guide pages. These immediately go into a campy tutorial mode where a fellow survivor gives you tips on how to use your items to their fullest potential. In addition to the main campaign, there are also some challenge missions that give you very direct objectives to clear.

How to Survive is really throwing a lot of different obstacles at you, and it's clear that its intentions are to give you hell as you try to get through the game. As far as zombie and survival games go, that's an admirable goal, and it's something different from what we're used to out of the genre. How to Survive is due out on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, the Wii U eShop, and Steam. All versions of the game will feature two-player local co-op, though the Wii U iteration will be the only version that doesn't feature an online co-op component. The game will hit download platforms this fall.

Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.

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David Sanchez David Sanchez is the most honest man on the internet. You can trust him because he speaks in the third person.
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