Do you know what makes zombies the perfect antagonist in movies or video games? It’s their frightening demeanor, overwhelming numbers, and a never never-ending hunger for flesh. They have been a part of video games for so long that they now have their own subgenre. Zombie games come in different flavors and are not limited to survival horror, first-person shooter, and role-playing game genre.
It could either be an action-packed shooter with countless zombie heads to blow or a perfectly detailed simulation game where a contagious bite or a single wrong step could contribute to your character’s demise. Below, we have compiled some of the best zombie games that you can play right now.
13. Into the Dead 2: Zombie Survival
Into the Dead 2: Zombie Survival’s immense popularity despite being a relatively new zombie survival game tells us a lot about its quality. Your objective is to try and rescue your family from zombies and in order to do that you must survive through waves of undead anyway possible either by shooting them or dodging them.
The game can be played in three different modes; story, daily and survival each of which can trigger both fear and aggression in players. It also has a bunch of side challenges and missions that you can perform. It’s fair, as far as the graphics is concerned. The app is free to download but has an option for in-app purchases.
12. Project Zomboid
Platform: Windows, Linux, OS X
Developer: The Indie Stone
In a zombie apocalypse, surviving isn’t just about killing waves and waves of undead: hunger, depression, illness, and loneliness are other things that you have to deal with. Build around these mortal desires, the Indie Stone’s Project Zomboid gives enthusiastic gamers a taste of promising open-world horror survival game.
Your objective is to survive in a quarantined county filled with zombies as long as you can (even-though death is inevitable). In order to live longer, first, you need to build a base, then scavenge for food and other necessary supplies, while avoiding huge hordes of zombies. The game can be played in both single-player and multiplayer mode.
11. Dead Rising 4
Platform: Windows, Xbox One, Play Station 4
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Dead Rising 4 is the fourth installment of the highly rated Dead Rising Series which brings back Frank West, a journalist who appeared as a central character in the first two Dead Rising editions. The game has a sweet mix of survival gaming aspects like frenzy weapon combos, crafting, character progression, quick-witted survival, and core action gameplay.
The omission of 72 hours timer mechanism, which restricted the availability of a certain mission in all the previous Dead Rising games, and co-op story mode from the gameplay is perhaps the biggest change brought by developers. The rest is almost the same.
Dead Rising 4 certainly takes the zombie-slaying experience to a completely new level. A number of serious technical issues has, however, hindered its true potential to some extent.
10. Dying Light: The Following
Image Courtesy: Techland
Platform: Windows, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Dying Light: The Following is not a standalone game, rather it’s an expansion pack for the popular first-person horror survival game, Dying Light. As expected, The Following’s gameplay is quite similar to that of the original game with few minor changes only.
The game utilizes the day and night scheme quite nicely which controls the behavior of zombies; they will be slow and an easy target during daytime but much faster and aggressive during the night. Just like in the original game, players can perform various athletic moves like climbing ledges, jumping and zip-lining to fight and kill enemies.
The game introduced a brand new dune buggy with few customization options and a separate skill tree. It can be used to travel and run over zombies. Multiple weapon types including flamethrowers, UV lights and spikes can also be added to the car for extra firepower.
What’s more, it includes two new game modes. A bounty mode, where available missions are dynamic (changes every day) and a “Nightmare mode” with increased difficulty, in which zombies have higher strength and health stats.
9. Urban Dead
Developer: Kevan Davis
Urban Dead is a popular browser/text-based MMORPG set in a fictional city following a deadly zombie outbreak. You can start the game either as a zombie or as a survivor with various professions (each has different capabilities). Players or survivors can, however, become zombies if they die and zombies can be resurrected. All characters are player-controlled and the game doesn’t feature any NPC (non-player) component.
As a survivor, your prime objective is to find a suitable hideout and barricade the premises to stop zeds from entering. Ideally, these hideouts should be located near shopping malls and hospitals so you have easy access to necessary supplies. Your character will gradually grow and gain advanced characteristics with experience points with specific actions.
8. Organ Trail
Platform: Browser-based, Android, iOS, PS4
Developer: The Men Who Wear Many Hat
Are you a fan of retro games? If you’re, then this might just be your thing. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Organ Trail takes you to a long, hard journey across America where you’ll encounter zombies, deadly diseases and even witness human lunacy. Your job is to lead a group of fellow companions through to a zombie-free destination.
To start, you must first choose from a number of available characters with each having unique attributes that will affect the gameplay. Resource (which includes food, ammo and fuel for the vehicle) management is of utmost importance and necessary for your survival. The game is available in two modes; campaign and endless mode.
In campaign mode, you begin with a certain amount of points that you can spend on resources before getting on with your journey. In terms of gameplay, there is not much difference between the two modes except there is no specific destination in endless mode, meaning all you have to do is survive as long as you can. The game is actually based on a popular educational computer game of 70s bearing an identical name.
7. Left 4 Dead 2
Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, Linux
Developer: Valve Corporation
Left 4 Dead 2 is a co-op survival game in which you wage war against countless infected creatures along with your teammates. The game is almost everything a zombie survival game must have; adrenaline rush, fear, and excitement. It is perfect for those who love multiplayer gameplay.
The basic premise of the game is to try and reach from one point to other without being eaten by zombies. Here, you will face not some average slow-moving zombies but fast runners who are also extremely aggressive in nature which is quite scary itself. Compared to its predecessor, Left 4 Dead 2 has more depth in its gameplay with tons of new weapons to collect.
It has five different game modes; Campaign mode, where you can team up with other people to fight off zombies, a singleplayer mode, versus mode, where other players take control of special infected. Then there is the survival mode in which you run against the clock to survive. There is also a special ‘scavenge’ mode where players can team-up in 4-on-4 style and battle against each other to reach a set goal.
6. State of Decay
Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, One
Developer: Undead Labs
State of Decay is an action-packed survival video game that puts more emphasis on strategy and stealth than anything else. Here, you’re neither a zombie slaying god, nor you have unlimited resources to defend yourself for eternity.
You need to search for and recruit new survivors, scavenge/raid vacated buildings and other survival camps regularly for essential resources. Moral and emotions also play a key role in your survival so do the way you interact with other NPC’s (outside your group). It simply doesn’t get more real than this.
The story is promising but you have two choices: either strictly follow it or just focus on survival. Though the game has some technical issues, it still stands out from other zombie survival games as it br illiantly incorporates gaming elements of stealth, shooting, strategy, and role-playing. Within a year of its release, Undead Labs sold more than one million copies of the game.
5. Planescape: Torment
Image Courtesy: Black Isle Studios/Steam
Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Developer: Black Isle Studios
If you’re a fan of zombie survival games and haven’t played Planescape: Torment by now, all I can say is that you’re missing out on a lot. I get it, Planescape is not the type of game that makes someone go nuts instantly or get really excited but believe me it totally worth your time and every penny you’re going to spent on it. Almost every aspect of the game is just top-notch.
It’s basically about an immortal protagonist (your character), who has forgotten all about his past life. The game begins at a cold mortuary room, where you wake-up only to be approached by your dead friend’s skull. The remaining and most part of the game involves your journey through the mystical city of Sigil. There are several potential companions you will meet throughout the game with whom you can converse.
Planescape operates on slightly modified D&D (Dungeon and Dragons) rules with campaign settings that compels you to solve complex riddles and allows your character to develop in multiple domains.
4. Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2 is perhaps the most popular zombie survival game available on smartphones. Yes, it’s old but quality updates time-to-time have kept it more than relevant. Based on similar game mechanism as its precursor, the game does well in almost every aspect.
However, after one point of time, it does become monotonous when you will find yourself doing the same thing over and over. Anyway, your objective is to kill zombies (of course) while completing missions. As with other games of this genre, you start with limited health and weapons.
You can lose health either if you’re hit by zombies or affected by environmental catastrophes like nuclear radiation. You can always regain your strength with health kits. The game puts a strong emphasis on weapon upgrades with plenty of tools for you to collect. It has above average graphics, overall a good first-person gameplay.
Unlike most of the mobile zombie shooting games, which are basically rail shooters, Dead Trigger 2 gives you the flexibility to move freely in all direction much like PC and console-based FPS games.
3. The Last of Us
Image Courtesy: Naughty Dog/playstation.com
Platform: PlayStation 3
Developer: Naughty Dog
Originally released in 2013, The Last of Us remains one of the best survival video games ever made. It takes you to the most hostile post-apocalyptic world filled with infected creatures and savage, unfriendly humans who would do anything to survive. Your job is to protect a witty teenage girl from all kind of threats as she is vital for the survival for the humanity itself.
Your character, Joel can use a wide range of weapons throughout the game including shotguns, rifles, bows and even baseball bats if necessary. Other sorts of equipment including health kits can either be crafted or collected. As usual, players can strike enemies directly however you can also take a more covert approach if it suits you. The game can be played in both single player and online multiplayer mode.
In 2014, Naughty Dog rolled out a remastered version of the game for Play Station 4 with few upgrades, additional features with a higher frame rate; 60 frames per seconds at 1080p resolution compared to 30 fps in 720p in the original version.
2. The Walking Dead: Season One
Image Courtesy: Telltale Games/Steam
Developer: Telltale Games
The Walking Dead is an episodic adventure video game based on a popular comic series of the same name. The entire game is divided into five episodes with one bonus episode which you can download.
The story, just like in the comics, begins shortly after the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse in Georgia. While the rest of the game’s story corresponds to that of the comic’s, most of the characters used here are unique.
The protagonist, Lee Everett (your character) is tasked with protecting a young girl in the zombie apocalypse along with a group of survivors. The game puts a strong emphasis on story and character development which are directly influenced by your conversation choices and actions in a particular time frame. Sometimes, you’ll face time bound choices i.e conversations require the player to choose within a time limit, otherwise, your character will remain quiet.
1. Resident Evil
Image Courtesy: Capcom/Steam
Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, 4, Xbox 360
No list of best horror survival games is complete without Capcom’s Resident Evil. Re-released in 2002, it’s actually a remake of the original Resident Evil game. Here you will play either as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, who is sent to investigate a series of mysterious murders which took place in the Raccoon City, a fictional town set in the Midwest.
You must proceed with caution as dangers lurk almost in every corner. The constant threat of crimson heads and undead animals combined with the limited amount of inventory (ammo, health) will make you feel vulnerable at all times. On top of that its tighter, almost claustrophobic design just magnifies the level of horror. Game’s dialogue delivery is nothing less than a cherry on the cake.
If you think you can handle more, then you should try Resident Evil’s HD version. The remastered HD version is more recent, being released only in 2015, and has improved controls including vertical scrolling at the background which respond according to the player’s movement. The game was released in Japan under the name of Biohazard.