Developer: EKO Software
Publisher: 505 Games
Release Date: October 23rd, 2013 (Most versions), November 5th, 2013 (Ps3)
Available on: Xbox 360, PC, Playstation 3
Reviewer’s note: I played the PC version of this game. There may be differences between versions.
Let me give you a tip on survival: don’t play How to Survive. You won’t actually learn anything about survival, but you will play a bland and boring game.
How to Survive is a zombie survival game that you play from a top-down perspective. You move with the left stick and aim with the right, something that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that you attack with the right bumper and run with the right trigger, something that I kept forgetting causing me to either swing at the air or run face first into zombies like I wanted to get bit. Attacking is awkward even if you do it right since you only have one attack. If you stun an enemy then you can hit A to preform an execution that will instantly kill them. Once you get a gun you simply have to aim at an enemy and hit the right bumper to fire. If you aim at them long enough then you’re guaranteed to get a head shot. Ammo is actually so plentiful in the game that never felt and risk of running out, so you don’t really need to preform head shots unless the enemy can’t take body damage.
You also need to preform basic actions like eating, drinking, and sleeping to ensure your survival. I never found keeping myself fed and quenched to be that tough. There’s more than enough food laying around. It was really the sleep that was harder. To sleep you need to clear out special safe huts around the islands. Doing so requires you to fight an almost absurd amount of zombies off. While the ones in the early islands were tough but not impossible, I couldn’t clear out any of the ones on the last island as the swarm of zombies was far greater than I could deal with. Instead I began to just take the trip back to the earlier islands to sleep whenever I needed to. It was a huge waste of time but at least it was safe.
Speaking of greater than I could deal with, the last island is also home to some ridiculously tough zombies. It was really weird as I was getting ready to go into this review talking about how the game was a bit on the easier side. The last island really spikes up the challenge though. Frustrating enemies like the zombie deer and massive goliath zombies had the ability to keep you juggled and stuck on the ground, leaving you unable to get up as they drain your health. The game also really likes to send waves of fat explosive zombies that move fast despite their size. Eventually I found myself avoiding enemy encounters where possible to try to run from each goal to the next so I can get through that area.
It’s not like I was missing anything important either. The story is boring and told with some awful voice acting. It’s hard to care for any of the characters when they all don’t seem concerned about being on an island full of zombies. Even harder when the zombies are hilariously blatantly ignoring them. For those that don’t care about the story mode then there is also a challenge mode. In this mode you are put on an island with some basic supplies and have to find a plane that could be anywhere on the island. It’s a bit more fun when you don’t have to deal with fetch quests, but since the game play is still super clunky it doesn’t go far. Either the story or the challenge mode can be play co-op with a buddy which does make things more fun, but it feels like it’s fun because you’re laughing at a bad game rather than actually doing fun stuff.
By the end of How to Survive the most I got out of it was to avoid it. The game works, yes, but it’s extremely boring and has an almost absurd end-game difficulty spike. Unless you’re looking to laugh at it with a friend, the best survival tip I can give you is to stay far away.