Has the Resident Evil 2 remake got you in the mood for some more undead ass kicking this weekend?
Dangers lurk around every corner and face eaters hide in the dark. If you find yourself abandoned in a lonely corridor with unplaceable screeches erupting from your surroundings, you would be forgiven for searching for a green herb and a box of handgun ammo.
But not every awesome zombie game takes place in the Resident Evil universe; in fact, some of the best undead adventures come directly from indie developers with their own creepy stories to tell. Here are the seven you need to know about.
7. Flesh Eaters
Flesh Eaters might look as trashy as its B-movie inspirations, but it hides some entertaining, tactical gameplay behind its rough edges. Taking control of a small team of survivors, you’ll scour the city stalked by the undead that now inhabits its ruins. You’ll take control of a team of three different classes including a soldier, medic and engineer, each with their own special set of skills repurposed to survive the zombie apocalypse.
The game mainly centres around resource management that requires you to gather supplies, build barricades and upgrade a small selection of undead-destroying weaponry. You can grow your characters over time, levelling them up as they harden to the harsh realities of their situation. But death can come swift and brutal, in combat that mixes real-time-strategy with rogue-lite difficulty.
Flesh Eaters’ real charm is in its nostalgic quality for a certain generation. This might invoke fond memories for fans of classic, 16-bit zombie Flash games. It might lack the depth or polish of some of the other titles on this list, but, like all the terrible zombie movies before it, that’s part of the appeal. It’s cheap, not so cheerful, and an easy way to spend a few hours fighting back against an undead horde that will inevitably overwhelm and eat you. Fun for all the family.
6. Urban Dead
Looking for something a little less visceral than your typical zombie game? Urban Dead may be able to help with that. This free grid-based browser zombie MMORPG has been live for 14 years, gathering players together online to fight for control of a ruined city.
Played directly in your game browser, it’s an HTML and text-based adventure that features a city build out of 100 x 100 blocks. Your character gets 50 actions a day to use, move, attack, and search around the city. As a zombie, your job is to attack survivors. As a survivor, well, your work is cut out for you. It’s a great way to get into the zombie apocalypse mood, especially if you have to get in some playtime at work – it’s beautifully nondescript!
5. Death Road to Canada
Civilisation has collapsed and for some reason, you’re going to Canada. The only problem is there’s a horde of flesh-eating zombies standing in your way on this road trip from hell. Death Road to Canada is a randomly-generated action RPG with the kind of roguelike elements that only add further woe to an already difficult situation. You’ll need to manage a car full of survivors, picking up the various roadside weirdos you meet as you explore deserted cities heaving with the welcoming faces of the undead.
One of the cool things about Death Road to Canada is its character customisation options. These allow you to create any number of characters you can meet out there on the roads, adding a personal touch to your journey. You can also find and adopt dogs, which is nice. See, even zombie apocalypses have a bright side!
There’s a great amount of replay value with the ups and downs of your trip being randomly generated. With added 2-player co-op you’ll also be able to bring a friend along to help you face such difficult decisions of survival like solving the mystery of who farted in the car. After all, let’s not let the end of humanity as we know it take our attention away from the important matters at hand.
4. Zombie Army Trilogy
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Nazi zombies are some of the safest enemies to employ in a violent shooter. Really, no one feels sorry for Nazi zombies. So when Hitler decides to raise an undead army in the face of a World War 2 defeat, it’s your job to land some headshots and finally lay this alternate timeline to rest.
Initially released on PC, a remastered trilogy was unleashed on PS4 and Xbox One in 2015, offering high-res gore and guts alongside an extra campaign. Frenetic 1-4 player Horde mode offers quick arcade action, and if you’re PC-inclined you can even spot some of your favourite Left 4 Dead characters in the mix.
Based on Sniper Elite and its distinct long-range focus, this third-person action shooter will have you fending off hordes of fascist zombies until the last slow motion head rolls.
3. They Are Billions
A crucial aspect of zombie fiction that makes it so terrifying is the sheer volume of zombies an apocalypse could yield. They Are Billions capitalises on this in both name and nature. You build up a stronghold like in a typical real-time strategy game, but rather than defending against enemy armies, it’s crowds of the undead you’ll have to worry about. So many, in fact, you’ll sometimes struggle to see the ground.
They Are Billions takes place within a Steampunk dystopia in which only several thousand non-infected survivors remain. Each map is randomly generated and will require you to build a colony, gather food and resources, recruit soldiers and keep everyone safe. What’s scary is how quickly an infection takes hold of your colony once it gets inside. A single zombie can rapidly corrupt an entire building and from there it only gets worse.
They Are Billions is in Early Access, with a lot still yet to come. Its delayed campaign has exploded in ambition and scope, promising 40 or 50 hours’ worth of gameplay once it launches. Recently the developers added a level editor with Steam Workshop integration, too, which the community has used to create and share hundreds of custom maps.
2. Project Zomboid
This open-world survival horror adventure takes players to a zombie-infested land where they have to survive as long as possible before succumbing to the elements, or – you guessed it – zombies. Take a trip to Knox County, which the government has since shut down thanks to the zombie outbreak.
You’ve got to scavenge for supplies to stay alive while fighting off hunger, pain, tiredness, and mental stability, occasionally ripping a zombie to pieces who tries it with you. If you’re looking for a slow and methodical game where every move you make counts, this is it – except when you’re facing down a horde, that is.
1. Deadlight: Director’s Cut
A zombified homage to the sidescrolling platformers of the late 1980s, Deadlight: Director’s Cut takes players on a journey across Seattle via the shadows of an apocalyptic cityscape. Randall Wayne is more than equipped to deal with the dangers lurking along every 2.5D corridor, however. A former park ranger, Wayne uses his trusty fire axe to take out enemies at close range as well as a typically sparsely-supplied revolver and shotgun for late-game showdowns.
Don’t expect the gunslinging action of the middling Resident Evil titles here, though. Largely, you’ll be utilising the shadows to escape confrontation just as much as you’ll be avoiding the dangers that lurk within them. Classic puzzle mechanics will require adept use of your slingshot to find paths around hordes and take refuge from the ‘New Law,’ a group of vigilante anti-heroes who have taken over the streets of Seattle.
Guide Wayne across the city as he attempts to locate and find shelter with his family. There’s a mysterious niggle of a sub-plot here, based around Wayne’s own distrust of his memories surrounding the outbreak of the streets’ new undead inhabitants. Throughout your slingshot-bearing, shadow-dwelling adventure, you’ll be constantly on edge, and it’s not just your undead peers playing on your mind.
The zombie is a quintessential video game enemy. Nameless, often faceless and always requiring a quick trigger finger, the undead have become synonymous with the frenetic action-horror genre. With Resident Evil 2 on the horizon, the infamy of the undead will surely rise again, so this grisly season why not cleanse your palette with some indie favourites. Just remember to double-tap.