DEADCRAFT is a unique mix of multiple different genres: farming, hack & slash, survival, crafting - it has it all! You’ll follow the story of an unique individual called Reid, half-human-half-zombie, as he tries to avoid being captured after being chased by a couple of thugs. This leaves him battered, bruised and for a short time, trapped within the walls of a mysterious city known as the Ark. After a brief escape, our hero stumbles, falls off the city limits and down into a region known as the slums, where zombies stalk the isolated wasteland.
Just a little side note before we jump into things, as soon as I saw DEADCRAFT’s characters, it was clear to me that this was the same team that created Daemon X Machina, it was almost like they had picked the characters for their previous game and popped them straight into DEADCRAFT.
The combat is pretty simple; you can slash with the ZR trigger, lock on with R and occasionally roll out of the way with a well placed tap of the B button which I actually found a little stiff to use at times. If an enemy is stunned or falls over, you can do a brutal take-down ending their lives instantly, rewarding you with some new materials. While combat is one of many things you'll be doing in DEADCRAFT, most of your time will be spent crafting and keeping your meters and gauges as full as possible to warn off death while completing missions; while the game can get a little repetitive, the core concept is solid.
Survival is the order of the day here and there are a number of meters and gauges that you’ll have to maintain to keep your character in good health. The hunger and thirst meters can be restored by either eating or drinking different consumables which are vital to your survival. Otherwise, there are a few different negative effects that will befall your character if your meters get too low, such as limited movement or blurred vision which can greatly affect your game. So, to make sure you don’t croak, you must attend to each meter regularly by consuming food and fluids which can be found by scavenging the environment or bought from vendors. Your energy gauge at the beginning of the game is your biggest enemy as it can deplete from every action you take and the only way to replenish it is by consuming certain items or returning to your hide-out and sleeping. Depending on how much your hunger and thirst meters are full will depend on how much energy and health you’ll recover each day. And yet by learning new skills and abilities, you’ll be able to stay out longer and consume a lot less. But remember, you’ll need precious SP points that you can earn by killing and collecting anything in the game. SP can be used on multiple skill trees in your inventory, providing you with new abilities, such as reducing your appetite or allowing you to craft new structures, giving you the opportunity to filter water, grow crops and make better meals among other amenities.
The game features a wanted system which causes multiple enemies to attack you if you kill too many townsfolk or shakedown too many people. This can be reduced by going to sleep at your hideout. You also use your zombie powers to inflict pain on your enemies, such as Zombie Shields by tapping L or Bug Crush by tapping L+A.
There’s a fine balance that you must try to maintain: eating too many human delicacies will make you more human, robbing you of your zombie abilities, however eating too many brains or drinking too much zombie blood will make you more zombie-like, allowing you to use very cool zombies attacks but having the appearance of an extra from Dawn of the Dead, meaning people will be scared of you and not talk to you. And finally, you can even grow and share your own zombie minions (Frankies) once you’ve developed your farm with others online later in the game.
- Fun combat
- Multiple skill trees
- Balance human and zombie powers
- Farming crops and zombie Frankies
I found myself having to take days at a time looking for certain resources and crafting them at my hideout; while this is a fundamental mechanic, I grew tired of needing to do this so much within the first few hours of playtime. While this can be reduced thanks to the skills you learn, I still got a bit tired with it all. In addition, I found menu navigation to be slow and cumbersome at times, which made looking around the map or selecting skills from the skill tree slow and imprecise, adding to the game’s cumbersome nature.
On top of that, I had issues finding certain resources that I couldn’t find in the shops, which required a lot of back-and-forth running. It simply made the game feel like a slog to get through at the start; it eased up as I unlocked more abilities, but other players may not last that long.
- Tedious opening hours
- Awkward menu navigation
- A lot of running back-and-forth
Final Score: 8/10
Even with some of its shortcomings in the early stages, I can’t deny that DEADCRAFT is one fun game. The zombie abilities and human/zombie balancing act is very refreshing, even though I’m not totally blown away with the game’s survival aspects. If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, then DEADCRAFT will be an enjoyable romp through a post-apocalyptic wasteland as you grow, kill, farm and craft the most bizarre concoctions and contraptions to fight and survive.
Thank you for checking out our DEADCRAFT Switch review, thank you to Marvelous (via Decibel PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: