I can’t help but wonder if the devs mispelled Safehouse with a Z in an early build and just rolled with it…what’s up with that name?! Z for zombie, yeah yeah, I get it.
But don’t worry, that’s actually one of the worst things I’ve got to say.
The game comes with a set of scenarios to choose from with a different endgoal each time. Examples include fortifying a building and finding a flare gun, repairing a vehicle and using it to escape, preparing for a rescue helicopter, starting with one survivor and attempting to attract more and so on. Fairly standard survival storylines; a little bit boring if I’m honest. In addition to the somewhat mundane scenarios, you have an endless mode (see how long you can survive), and here’s the good bit – custom games. Each scenario can be very heftily customized with difficulty options. You can make scenarios near impossible if you fancy a real tough challenge.
Zafehouse Diaries is played through clicking on the icons, and the UI is intuitive and easy to follow. The tutorial mission didn’t actually give me any instructions (was it meant to?) but I figured it out easily enough as everything has a mouseover text and is relatively simple. You have a set of survivors who have traits and equipment and you’re in a town. These things are procedurally generated, so it’s different every time. You give them options – move to a house (investigate it or breach it), patrol the surrounding area and kill zombies, snipe zombies, barricade / fortify your base, search for items, cook food, clean up the corpses and so on. So you click, click, click and assign your survivors and then hit the stop watch.
Time advances one hour, and anything that happens is recorded in your diary. You then make decisions accordingly.
Obviously it’s not quite that simple – shit happens. You might get new survivors or a trader and have to make a choice. You might find something really special and have to decide what to do with it. You might run out of medical supplies and food. You might get attacked by zombies in the rainy night. Dilemma’s can occur where you have to make a choice that can have serious impacts on your survivors. Your survivors have personalities and traits, and can suffer from anxiety and stress. They can start fighting and disagree with each other, and you have to not only think what’s best for us physically – but what’s going to make my team not kill each other. There was an awkward moment when the game gave me two gay guys, 2 homophobes and a chick who hates men. Thanks game!! Go team! Woo!
So it’s not as simple as it seems, it has a decent scope of depth, and the random nature plus the custom settings give it a ton of replayability.
It’s a very niche game – survival without any real action. A lot of reading and story but in a very overdone setting, with nothing really surprising that I’ve discovered yet. Some people – particularly if you prefer action to reading – may find this the Zzzafehouse Diaries. Sorry, couldn’t resist. At the same time, despite this, I find it quite relaxing and enjoyable. Okay, maybe a zombie survival game isn’t meant to be relaxing – but I kicked back in the sweltering British heat (yeah, that’s a thing, it’s 30C with no breeze and we don’t have air con!) with a sweaty baby in my arms and just clicked through the story. The decision making was just enough to keep my brain working and the random nature kept things fresh. Customizing the story really steps it up a notch and makes things interesting and a real challenge. And really, it’s quite realistic… well, as realistic as the zombie apocalypse gets anyway.
If you like these three things
- Zombie Genre
- Reading words (if you got this far that’s probably you!)
- Strategy rather than action
Then you will like this game!