ByMarcus O'Shea, writer at
Resident RPG nerd and SoulsBorne fanatic. Can be spotted by their floofy hair.
Marcus O'Shea

Let's face it, there's no getting rid of zombies. Every time you think they've been wiped out of pop culture they rise again to shamble forward in waves of new movies, games and even books. Since we can't beat the horde, we figured we might as well join it.

The Best Zombie Survival Games

For those of you who hunger for awesome zombie survival games in addition to fresh brains, we've brought you a list of the best featuring zombies on the , and . From action-packed romps to difficult, sombre scavenging, there's a game here for every taste.

1. 'DayZ'

 [Credit: Bohemia Interactive]
[Credit: Bohemia Interactive]
  • Developer: Bohemia Interactive
  • Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
  • Platform: Microsoft Windows

The granddaddy of all zombie survival games. is a glimpse into human cruelty and helplessness in the face of the zombie apocalypse. By which I mean the other players in this game will do incredibly cruel things to you while you're helpless. Like steal your pants at gunpoint and force you to eat spoiled bananas.

That aside, it's a very fun game if you want something in-depth that really explores the nitty gritty of surviving in the zombie apocalypse. Resources are scarce, tools are more valuable than gold and food isn't always safe to eat. In DayZ it isn't just the zombies that threaten your life, it's the world itself.

Cruelty Index: 5/5, we brought back Nietzsche and asked him what he thought of DayZ and he called it 'pretty harsh.'

2. '7 Days To Die'

  • Developer: The Fun Pimps
  • Publishers: The Fun Pimps, Telltale Games
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems, Linux

7 Days to Die is a unique that combines elements of tower defense, open world building games and survival simulation to create a brutal zombie survival experience. While the game features a singleplayer mode, it's designed around co-operative multiplayer with friends or strangers.

To survive, you'll have to work together to construct a defensive base with harvested resources, style. Each day that passes makes the more aggressive and powerful, so you'll have to plan your base carefully to funnel them into defensive kill zones.

The graphics are fairly primitive, but this also makes it easier to run the game with friends who have a diverse array of computer set-ups. If you're willing to overlook some old-school voxel aesthetics, you'll find an awesome experience.

Cruelty Index: 3/5, you can choose whether to enter a PvP server or not, but the PvP servers won't be gentle.

3. 'Frozen State'

  • Developer: Flox Studios Ltd.
  • Publisher: Flox Studios Ltd.
  • Platform: Microsoft Windows

If you're a fan of old-school rogue-like mechanics, then Frozen State might be the zombie game for you. Frozen State pits you against the undead and the elements with top-down, isometric gameplay that plays a little bit like a real-time version of Fallout 2.

Combat is a last resort as you explore massive, hostile areas to recover materials to fortify your defenses and stay fed and healthy. Instead, stealth and careful planning are the order of the day. Like any good zombie story, running in guns blazing will quickly find you overwhelmed by a horde of the undead.

Cruelty Index: 1/5, no multiplayer but you might have a really mean older brother who hangs out in your room.

4. 'Miscreated'

  • Developer: Entrada Interactive LLC
  • Publisher: Entrada Interactive LLC
  • Platform: Microsoft Windows

Miscreated is a massively multiplayer Zombie survival game in the vein of DayZ. To survive, you'll have to explore, scavenge, build and craft to obtain the equipment you need to stay alive in a world overrun with mutants, wild animals and the kind of sociopaths you inevitably meet in open world survival games.

might be in early access, but it's a surprisingly stable and polished experience already. The development team are incredibly receptive to feedback and the playerbase is surprisingly friendly. It feels like a from an alternate dimension, one where the developers actually worked on the game instead of instituting increasingly labyrinthine subsystems that no one wanted.

The game also runs on CryEngine! Which means it's an incredibly beautiful experience just to wonder around the world and look at the ruins and nature around you. Just don't get too lost in admiring the foliage, there's still mutants out there in the woods.

Cruelty Index: 4/5, playerbase is slightly less sociopathic than DayZ but it's still totally possible.

5. 'Days Gone'

  • Developer: SIE Bend Studio
  • Publishers: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
  • Platform: PlayStation 4

Days Gone is an upcoming title from SIE Bend Studios, best known for creating the Syphon Filter series. Which is my favorite series of games in which you can shock someone's nuts with a taser until they catch on fire.

Days Gone can best be described as an attempt to create an open world, non-linear The Last of Us. You play as Deacon St. John, a gruff former bounty hunter with a suspiciously pornstar-ish name. A global pandemic has ravaged the world, leaving the last remnants of humanity desperately fighting for survival against bandits, nature and freakers, which are zombies with a fancy new name.

Days Gone promises an open approach to gameplay, with multiple ways to approach and solve every objective. There'll also be a full day-night cycle, complete with changing enemy behavior depending on the time of day.

Cruelty Index: 2/5, no multiplayer, but who knows what will happen in the story.

6. 'State of Decay 2'

  • Developer: Undead Labs
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

State of Decay 2 is the upcoming long-awaited multiplayer sequel to the original State of Decay. Featuring a vast open world and a focus on player cooperation, this game's the zombie option for people who prefer their survival games a bit friendlier.

Details about the gameplay of State of Decay 2 are still sketchy, but if it keeps the major mechanics from the original, we'll be seeing a base-building, scavenging action game with some RPG mechanics and perma-death for characters.

Cruelty Index: 2/5, no PVP but who knows, there's been weirder minigames than spoiled banana eating.

7. 'Dead Island: Definitive Collection'

  • Developer: Techland
  • Publishers: Techland, Deep Silver
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems

For folks who just wanna have some crazy fun killing zombies, Dead Island is probably what you're looking for. While the original release of the game featured some unfortunate bugs (and unfortunate merchandise), the definitive collection is a smooth, fun ride with some of the best first-person melee combat since Dark Messiah.

For those who want even more first-person fun that leans on the side of action over scavenging and survival, there's also Dying Light by the same developers. Dying Light trades in the exotic island setting for urban Africa and adds in some awesome parkour mechanics, which makes getting around the city a breeze.

Cruelty Index: 0/5, I played through just to make sure.

8. Dead Rising Series

  • Developers: Capcom, Capcom Vancouver, Tose
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Wii, iOS

If any series can be said to be an even more silly and over-the-top zombie good time than the Dead Island franchise, it's . This cartoonish zombie survival franchise lets you create some of the most absurd weapons ever made and unleash them upon hordes of unsuspecting undead.

From firework launchers to brutal combat wheelchairs, if you want wanton destruction and completely silly costumes then the only true answer is Dead Rising.

Cruelty Index: 2/5, you can technically steal your own pants and force-feed yourself spoiled food, which kind of counts.

What are your favorite zombie survival games? Any you think we missed from the list? Let us know in the comments!


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