Unturned is an early access free-to-play survival sandbox game that is highly reminiscent of Minecraft.
It was created by Nelson, who founded Smartly Dressed Games, an independent Canadian studio who was only sixteen years old when he began working on developing Unturned. Which means throughout its development of two years, he had been in school.
The game was released on July 2014 and is now within the top 20 games most played on Steam, beating titles such as Fallout 4, Counter-strike, Dark Souls 2 and even Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
Unturned, while free-to-play to the masses does have an option to pay $5 for a permanent ‘gold’ upgrade giving players access to premium servers, golden weapon skins (and costumes) and including more customization options. Although most who do buy the upgrade, do so to support Nelson for the phenomenal work he has put into the game.
With the game still in early access, it is still receiving updates and patches to improve the game’s already solid gameplay. I have yet to find any game-breaking bugs or glitches.
Unturned has the usual survival elements such as: health, hunger, thirst and so on. It even has three different skill branches for you to put experience points into, increasing your efficiency and survival chances.
There are four default maps available on Unturned: Yukon, Russia, PEI (Prince Edward Island) and Washington.
The default worlds you can play in (Yukon, Russia, PEI and Washington) have a good mixture of places between cities, farms and campgrounds. This way, you do not spend majority of the game running through the wilderness or heavily zombie populated cities. I enjoyed the variety in the maps and how the settlements were spread out, making the maps feel larger than they actually were. It also allowed players to explore around to take advantage of the different resources available, or help them to decide which they felt would be best suited to them as a base.
I recall that for the Yukon map, I made my home base at the military/research facility inside one of the bio-domes. My base (right in the bottom left corner of the map) was furthest from any nearby settlements, meaning I had to rely heavily on a mode of transport to make my scavenging trips or take a really long walk. I liked it though, it was very easy to make the bio-dome into a base and easily defend-able.
Finding loot in Unturned is incredibly easy as most houses always have clothing, food and a weapon of some kind. Finding civilian grade firearms is rather easy which makes it feel less gratifying but every little thing that helps you survive counts. If you really want to find some heavier weaponry, it usually requires you to take the risk of going into a military base.
On single-player or PVE (player versus environment), your main enemies will be the zombies themselves. They have to either hear or see the player to be aware of the player’s presence. Most of the zombies are slow-moving, but they can easily swarm the player. There are at several different types of zombies that can be encountered in the game. I only met a few which were:
- Standard Zombies – your typical undead that wants to kill you and devour you. Will swarm you if you are not careful.
- Crawlers – literally crawls around on its belly, slower than standard zombies. Has slightly higher health compared to the standard zombie.
- Sprinters – moves around on all fours and charges the player. Weaker in general but is able to move fast
- Mega Zombies – less common variant of the standard zombie. Larger in size and packs a bigger punch. Can take one heck of a beating before it goes down.
- Acid Zombies – Think Spitter from Left 4 Dead
- Different variations of the standard zombies based on location – military, civilian, hazmat zombies (and its mega zombie variant).
While you can play Unturned solo like I have, the game definitely is tailored towards multiplayer. There are many servers already that exist. The servers offer different game modes from Paintball to Survival games. Or if you want, you can simply make your own server to play with your friends. Creating a server seems rather straightforward from the quick glance I had, so there are some tentative plans between me and friends to create a co-op Unturned server.
I had immense fun playing Unturned and it definitely appealed to me since I enjoy games where I can just explore around freely. Scavenging for supplies and stockpiling them to hold me over. Base building and fortifying is one of the core mechanics for the game. You can build from scratch by using the raw resources around the world or scavenging for building materials. I have to admit that I have yet to build a base from scratch. What I typically did was go to one of the places in the map to see if I liked the area, if I did then I took over one of the houses and fortified it.
Unturned has immense modding potential which is further supported by the numerous mods made by the community in the workshop for it. Mods range from weapon skins, vehicle modifications and new survival maps.
If you are into sandbox survival games then Unturned will definitely appeal to you. I cannot wait to be playing Unturned again in the future to check out new community made maps and seeing what else Nelson will add to the game. I have yet to actually check out the new Russia map that he added.