7 Days to Die – Alpha Review
This review is an Alpha Review, the game has not yet been fully developed although for the Kickstarter backers and the early buyers a small version of the game is available. I’ve been aware of this game for quite some time now, but when it comes to mining blocks and building stuff I always stuck to the obvious one – Minecraft. So is this game any Minecraft then? Sure, in the same sense that Star Wars and Star Trek are the same, they are both happening in space, are they not?
7 Days to Die is a voxel based world where your main objective is to survive – that is it, end of the story premise. Being a voxel based world means that pretty much everything is destructible and have a level of durability. During day time you run around a mostly nature area, with a few cabins and houses. So far there is only one small village, which is no larger than a small block in an average suburban area with some 32 houses of varying shape, size and material. There is however plenty to explore and differing itself from Minecraft is that the crafting is significantly more easy, although some supposedly common resources are about as rare as Diamonds in Minecraft.
About the developers The Fun Pimps LLC there is not much to find, they claim to be game developers and if anything 7 Days 2 Die is certainly that.
…saying that in a Master Yoda voice takes a lot of the harshness out of it. The game is still in alpha and the developers are apparently working hard on upgrades and are also making wild claims about future zombie monsters you will encounter. I for one am not looking forward to the flying kind of zombies they have planned for. But I digress, let’s get back to the technology.
As this game is still in alpha, we must admit that it is surprisingly well made. This is a product that is meant for sale already to keep all the fans interested, happy and have something to do. The graphics however are quite generic and there is not much in the way of fantastic… yet. Having racked up almost three times the amount requested during their Kickstarter campaign 7 Days to Die sure looks well on its way to be a new big name on the sandbox market. Graphics are still the biggest complaint and there is a current trend amongst especially the younger gamers that everything must be top notch graphics or else they’ll hate the game.
Looking past the current level of graphics however we see that the developers have promised to bring in full time graphical staff to up the visual eye candy and that is certainly in their favour, whilst we agree that graphics is the last things that makes a game good – it is indeed a vital part for the immersion to have some decent graphics.
Gameplay still requires some fine tuning…
Even after tweaking the settings in the game and my own external controls of mouse and keyboard the interactions within the game are still not “feeling” perfect. Looking around, walking, running, crafting – they are all just slightly off. It may be that this is intentional and that the developers are going to make it all better once they get through to Alpha 2.
It took a while to get used to this delay and it did lead to a lot of time spent in the game settings during the first day, leaving me utterly at a disadvantage when the first night came – I quickly learned exactly how bad the zombies get once the sun is gone – They are fast, mean and very hard hitting – no doubt we will see multiplayer episodes with some for of “chicken runs” to be endured.
To buy or not to buy?
Even though the game is still in alpha, you can still get your hands on it and start playing within minutes. Looking at the YouTube gamer Paul Soares Jr play through you will see that there is plenty of things to do and keep you busy. At this writing moment his latest episode on his more mature/adult content channel is on Day 16 and still going strong – I’ve only managed to reach day 18 so far, this review was written during the night vigil between day 7 and 8 where I must admit I was sort of hoping for some kind of armageddon event utterly destroying everything and then announcing that I had won the game or at the very least achieved becoming the last person in the world.
The quality of this alpha release is truly a standard toward which you should compare other alpha and even some betas, whilst not sporting the best graphics, best engine or story, what you do have is well thought out, working and best of all, here at EG we have still to experience our first crash – something many AAA title betas have plenty of troubles with.
We are holding back on the written material regarding graphics, gameplay and user interface until we have seen the final product, for the purposes of this alpha review we will put our verdict as if this was the complete product. The plus this game gets is that for just being a small teaser of what is to come there is an amazing lot of things to do, the game concept is well planned from the beginning and with their over $500.000 in Kickstarter fundings we should be seeing something even more in depth. The graphics and textures are generic, but have some thoughts behind them.
Combat is still a bit so-so, melee is not advised but still functioning, whilst ranged battle (guns, rifles, shotguns) do their job quite well. The only complaint is that the shotgun is a bit weak, especially in those moments when you have managed to round up some 30 zombies and should wipe them out with one “both barrels”-blast, it only kills one (if your aim is true). I’d like to put the A.I in on the positive side as well – If the zombies are supposed to be brainless, then why should they have A.I? All jokes aside, the A.I. is not really developed and the zombies are fairly predictable in their actions. Some upgrade to this and some more random events every now and then would make it awesome.
On the negative side: The nights – They are endless, boring and even if you spend all your day gathering materials to craft whilst you await sunrise during the darker hours, you quickly run out of things to do and you are left with nothing more but watch the zombies mill around and tear up defences as well as houses and walls. The element still missing or that needs improving is the Tower Defence part – Sure you can build wood spikes, barbed wires and even force the zombies to go through mazes with walls of corrugated iron, but it is still not enough to call it Tower Defence… not yet at least, as I joked about in the beginning with Star Wars and Star Trek – This game is just as much a Tower Defence game as you can make the unmodded Minecraft in to.