7 Days to Die
The Fun Pimps
Zombies have long been a part of the general public’s collective consciousness ever since the 1950s. Along with werewolves, fairies, ghosts and goblins, vampires, and such, they never really struck me as being particularly scary in any way, shape, or form. Now if we’re talking some type of creepy evil spirits such as in The Shining, or loathsome aliens such as depicted in The Thing, then you’ve got my attention—but zombies…meh.
But I get it. Unrelenting hordes of undead, usually created by some sort of global pandemic—It’s an interesting premise if anything. Zombie-dom grew in prominence over this past decade, reaching its zenith around 2013 with pistol hot TV shows like The Walking Dead and the Brad Pitt vehicle, World War Z. Since then, we’ve seen a pretty sharp decline in terms in how popular zombies are.
Which brings us to indie developer, The Fun Pimp’s sandbox zombie survival fest, 7 Days to Die. 7 Days to Die actually began its development sometime in 2013, at the height of the zombie-frenzy, so it’s a game that has been in Early Access for over three years now. Yes that wasn’t a typo, three whole years. But before we get to that, let me back up and explain what the game’s mainly about…
My first 7 Days to Die experience involved spawning onto a random map with nothing but a pair of tighty whities (you can play in the game’s pre-rendered map or choose a randomly generated one). After learning how to craft a couple of basic tools, I encountered my first couple of zombies which were shambling about in close proximity to an abandoned gas station.
Since I was used to fodder-like zombies in other zombie-pocolypse-style survival games, I simply walked up to one and tried to bash its brains out with my make-shift ax. Some crude sounds emitted that led me to believe that I’d struck it (the hit detection in the game’s combat system is iffy) several times. This prompted the zombie to turn around and proceed to claw and chomp on me like a cheap side of beef. Alarmed, I ran for the hills with zombie and its pal in tow. Fortunately, the zombies in 7 Days to Die move slowly…at least during the day.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t known about the infection system that 7 Days to Die features. That’s right, if you get bitten by a puss-head, be prepared to get a biological infection warning on your character sheet. Once I noticed that, I managed to find an old abandoned farmhouse where I planned to shack up for the night since evening was fast approaching.
At that point, I’d already learned enough about the game’s crafting and building systems to know how to erect some last-minute barricades on the house’s front and back doors. I then went about searching the rest of the place for any sort of valuable survival equipment. I found some bandages in the bathroom which I used to patch up my festering bite wounds. Just then, the sun set and an eerie musical effect sounded, a portent for horrible things to come.
Soon, I could hear a cacophony of undead moaning just outside the patchy farmhouse’s walls. I smothered my torch and moved away from the boarded up front door. Suddenly, I heard some scraping and crashing sounds upon the front of the house—they must have heard my footsteps creaking on the old dilapidated floorboards.
Fearing a breakthrough, I quickly ran upstairs and into a bedroom and boarded up its door behind me. I huddled in the darkness behind a bed while listening to the zombies tear their way through the front door of the house. Scrabbling footsteps sounded, indicating that the undead moved much faster during the nocturnal hours. Eventually, I could hear the zombies making their way upstairs. This wasn’t going to end well.
If the above gameplay is any indication, 7 Days to Die can be a tense and unnerving gaming experience. As with most survival games, you have to craft items, scavenge for equipment, and build bases, but here you have to do so in a much timelier manner. That’s because at night, zombies become more aggressive and faster moving as well. What’s more, every seventh night a super-zombie horde descends on the lands and wreak havoc on everything and everyone.
Therefore, you have to utilize some of the game’s assets, namely traps and other defenses, in order to try to stave off the increasingly dangerous zombie gangs. When playing with a group of friends, this can be an exhilarating experience since you mutually all do your best to ward off the encroaching masses of shambling corpses together. While 7 Days to Die’s graphics aren’t the best (it uses the Unity engine), the gameplay itself is so fun that it’s a great game to show off to your friends if you have a decent gaming laptop.
As eluded to earlier, the game has been in development for a long time now, more than most Early Access games. When I checked the number of times it had been updated during those years, they were disappointedly few and far between. So in that regard, purchasing this game and expecting a regular schedule of updates isn’t realistic. But for what it is right now, I think it’s worth the price of admission as far as I’m concerned. Remember, you can always utilize Steam’s refund policy.
7 Days to Die offers some decent visuals that suit its post-apocalyptic theme. However, you have to have a fast gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig: