If you are one of the 23 million plus players that currently has Unturned sitting in your library then you can probably skip this introduction. But, on the other hand, if you are one of the Steam users who has not downloaded the game which is the third most downloaded game on the platform (at the time of writing) then I’ll quickly sum it up for you. Unturned is a game that puts you into a post-apocalyptic world where zombies roam cities and you, a lone survivor (until you go onto multiplayer), have to collect resources and simply survive. It’s completely free on Steam and in Early Access, although it has been for the last 2 and a bit years.
So you’re probably asking yourself right now “Why should I play a free-to-play survival game when there are literally hundreds of others on the Steam store?”, and my answer to that is two words: Community and Developer. Alright, so it was three if you include ‘and’, but that’s beyond the point. The last time that I played a game that had a community like Unturned was Minecraft, and that’s saying something considering that
Mojang’s Microsoft’s hit blocky sandbox game is known for having one of the largest and most powerful fanbases in video game history. On the official subreddit, /r/Unturned, users are constantly discussing it and posting suggestions, and on the steam discussion board users are (mostly) happily chatting away about their beloved game.
This moves nicely into the second word, Developer. On both of these communities Nelson, the creator of Unturned, is consistently replying to suggestions and questions raised by fans, and the connection that he has with his fans is like no other when you take into account the scale of Unturned. And it’s not just his public relations that makes this game great, but his work schedule and drive to make this game better and to improve it. Every Friday he releases a major(-ish) update to the game which usually fixes numerous bugs, adds in several new items/vehicles/mechanics and tweaks existing ones. I have never seen this much commitment from a developer on a game that is more than 2 years old, and just the fact that a single developer has created the third most downloaded game on Steam blows my mind.
Anyways, let’s get into the gameplay. The game’s interface is nicely presented and very easy to navigate, and the mechanics such as crafting and skills are near perfection. When your difficulty mode is set right, the game is truly hard and makes for a very nervous yet exciting experience. The game can seem repetitive sometimes, but the constant flow of new structures, weapons, items, vehicles and enemies can easily keep you entertained and intrigued.
The game’s art style, in my eyes, is extremely unique and gives the game and good identity that makes it unmissable in the ever-expanding sea of Steam games. Some may call the game’s aesthetics childish, but I think that if Nelson were to make the game’s graphics ultra-realistic then he would no longer be able to call it Unturned as that is not what it would be.
The game also has a completely free multiplayer mode as well which gives you the ability to tackle the wilderness and the zombies that inhabit it with your friends, and it works amazingly. The game is well optimised for multiplayer, and this genre of games works great in general when people play with friends.
Obviously any free to play game does have its drawbacks, and Unturned is far from perfect (although it’s pretty close). Multiplayer servers are riddled with modders and hackers which (obviously) creates an unfair experience for everyone else, and there seems to be little to no anti-cheat prevention implemented. The map selection is also fairly limited, which in my eyes is not a problem with the constant updates of items, but some players may be put off by. The game does however support Steam Workshop so if players are ever feeling bored of the standard map then they can venture out into the modding community and download additional maps.
In conclusion, Nelson has created a truly remarkable game, which features solid gameplay mechanics, a powerful community that passionately loves the game, and the game is completely free for you to go and download, right now.