Dead State

Developer: DoubleBear Productions
Platform(s): PC
Release date: March 2014

Citing games like the first Fallout and the original XCOM as inspiration, Dead State takes the turn-based role-playing game approach to explore humanity’s long-term survival odds in the zombie apocalypse. The game starts two weeks after your plane crashes in Texas, and you wake up in a school inhabited by other survivors. From there, you must accept the burden of leadership and look after the school and the people living inside. They’ll give you missions and other intel the more you talk to them. But in return, you must give them food, heal them when they’re sick, and do anything you can to keep their morale from dropping.

Dead State

Above: Dead State uses the fog of war: You can’t see enemies (zombies or otherwise) until someone from your group spots them.

Image Credit: DoubleBear Productions

Zafehouse Diaries

Developer: Screwfly Studios
Platform(s): PC
Release date: Out now

As the name implies, Zafehouse Diaries relies more on your imagination than on fancy graphics to convey its brutality. Seeing your actions play out through text descriptions instead of realistic graphics is a refreshing change of pace. Polaroid photos represent the various members of your group (randomized in each playthrough), and moving them around is just a matter of dragging small tokens across a crude hand-drawn map.

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Success in looting and establishing new safe zones depends on how well your crew members work together. To improve these relationships, you can spread rumors about them and customize it to fit their personalities. When someone dies, a splash of blood falls on the page, followed by loud zombie moans and a gruesome description of how they met their doom.

Zafehouse Diaries

Above: Most of your strategic planning unfolds during this map screen.

Image Credit: Screwfly Studios

Project Zomboid

Developer: Indie Stone
Platform(s): PC
Release date: TBD

In its current state, the open-world action RPG drops you into the 2D zombie-filled city of Muldraugh, Ky., where you try and survive as long as you can before the horde devours you. Like other games on this list, you have to search buildings for useful items. What’s unique to Project Zomboid, however, is its obsession with detail: alarms can go off if you break into a house (attracting more of the undead), you can use bed sheets to cover windows (so zombies can’t see you) or rip them apart to make bandages, and if you get sick, you’ll need tissues to muffle your cough when zombies are nearby.

Project Zomboid has no release date yet, but you can still buy and play an early build here. The developers are also planning to have it on Steam’s Early Access page before Christmas.

Project Zomboid

Above: This would be a good time to find a house and hang up those bed sheets.

Image Credit: Indie Stone

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