With all the components required for a solid zombie survival game, Dawn of Survivors is a steal for its price. It does require a subscription to Switch online, but after that its low price tag makes for a very valuable game.
It is a classic survival game, a lot of which will feel very familiar to anyone well versed in the genre. You find yourself near nude in a ravaged laboratory, dead and dying guards and scientists strewn around the floor, lumbering zombies crawling through the wreckage. Your first mission is to escape.
In fleeing the laboratory, it’s easy enough to pick up the controls. You collect items, equip weapons, use them to pummel zombies. It’s a very simple concept.
Once you have escaped, you find yourself in what becomes your safe shelter. Conveniently, there are some abandoned supplies and a healthy amount of plants you can collect fruit from, trees you can chop down for lumber and rocks you can smash for minerals. You also meet your first companion, a dog with a radio strapped to it through which a helpful stranger guides you through the skills you’ll need to survive.
The dog is a cute touch and certainly makes the zombie infested world feel a little less lonely.
The zombies attack immediately. Throughout the game, you come across a huge variety of different kinds of zombies, beginning with the fairly easy to defeat sluggish zombies and evolving through increasingly agile and mutated zombies that draw inspiration from all kinds of horror history. Some are brutally fast, some have tentacles akin to the Elder Gods.
There is a helpful map in the corner that makes it easy to locate supplies and to spot when something is trying to sneak up on you.
The PVP aspects of Dawn of Survivors aren’t terribly comprehensive. You can raid and loot other people’s shelters, but that is the majority of its online functionality. There isn’t a lot of opportunity to play co-operatively, which would be fun and definitely add some value to the subscription fee. But the game itself is so cheap that it’s easy to overlook a little room for improvement.
The positive side of this is that the game doesn’t require other players being online for anyone to enjoy themselves. There is very little risk of the game dying and becoming a truly empty apocalypse if other people stop playing, because you can comfortably play with just the zombies as your opponents.
Dawn of Survivors is fairly slow-paced, but it doesn’t drag. It gives you enough time to learn the basics and then jump right into it as soon as you’re ready. It is a pure and simple survival game that genuinely works.