Night of the Dead – Survive a Zombie Apocalypse on a Remote Island!

Night of the Dead - Key Art

“The neighbors are scary enough when they’re not dead.” – George Romero

Developer: Jackto Studios
Released: 31st May 2024
Price: €28.99

Platforms: Windows
Available on: Steam
Engine: Unreal Engine


  • Excellent base building system, with great quality-of-life functions such as automation, labels, snap / free placement swap, auto-sort, auto-material-pick, and more.
  • Tremendously vast world, with a high amount of quest- or task-related POIs to explore, loot and clear out of zombies. These locations often have unique, useful rewards in them.
  • High number of unique items to drop from both bosses and rare enemies, which can be further customized, upgraded and re-rolled to fit your playstyle.
  • Solid gameplay variety: other than combat, activities like farming, fishing, quests, hunting, foraging, mining, trading, base-building and exploring are available and useful.
  • Good variety of elite and special enemies, all with unique attack patterns and abilities to keep combat from becoming too repetitive.


  • Companions are boring and useless. Not only are they a detriment in combat, but also have no personality, often get stuck, and half their AI commands are a bugged mess.
  • The main story is boring and clichèd, with an ending that doesn’t make a lot of sense, and other debatable non sequiturs in the narrative or characters.
  • No incentive to explore any location that isn’t marked by some quest or task; you’ll never find anything good in them.
  • On higher difficulties, most bosses are unfeasible to defeat with melee builds; this means you either go for a ranged one for mid-late game, or get obliterated.
  • The tutorials are insufficient, many fundamental game mechanics will never be explained properly or at all, and they aren’t intuitive either. Google is your friend.

Bugs & Issues

  • Several issues with objective completion tracking, mostly in secondary quests.
  • In rare cases, the main quest can break if a boss is killed in specific ways. Reload a save to fix.
  • Vehicle collision models, physics are inaccurate and buggy, making driving a painful experience.
  • A few specific areas cause massive performance issues regardless of settings / specs.
  • Melee weapon hitbox / hitreg are inaccurate, clunky and inconsistent.

Machine Specs

  • i9 13980HX
  • 64GB RAM DDR5
  • RTX 4090
  • NvME SSD
  • 3840×2160

Content & Replay Value

It took me and a friend 82 hours to finish Night of the Dead on Hard difficulty; we took extra time to explore, build an advanced base, acquire the best gear and complete side quests. The content is linear; I don’t see a reason to replay.

Is It Worth Buying?

Yes, especially for co-op. The price of 29€ is excellent for this amount, and overall good quality of content. For open-world survival fans, I can recommend getting it for full price.

Verdict: Good

A well-made and varied open-world zombie survival that, however, could’ve done better in many departments. Still, it’s an overall fun experience, especially in co-op.

night of the dead 1
My teammate scorching a mob of zombies with a flamethrower. Worth the cost in fuel!

Night of the Dead – In-Depth Analysis

Writing & Worldbuilding

Scorched and destroyed, the world does feel like a post-apocalypse setting: most buildings are dilapidated, horrifying abominations roam the streets, nature and animals reclaimed the dominion of men. The generally low quality of visuals, especially textures, and the immersion-breaking fact 90% of buildings are just props that can’t be entered, detracts from the realistic feeling. However, exploring the world is interesting and there’s a good number of locations, cities and biomes with their own visual identity, all made reasonably well.

Night of the Dead’s story is a clichèd, disjointed mess for the most part. While your objective of finding a cure is clear, the way you interact with characters most good and evil doesn’t make a lot of sense. There are no choices and little explanation of the motives of each of them. Moreover, you’ll never know how each of them ended up, and after their related questlines, it will be as if they stop existing entirely. The decent amount of diaries and notes is adequately written, but hardly meaningful to expand upon the lore.

night of the dead 2
Many places will be out of power. Your unlimited flashlight will be useful, but zombies can come from every corner nonetheless.

Exploration & Secrets

You’ll explore initially on foot, then with a series of progressively better, upgradeable vehicles like motorbikes and trucks. Surprisingly enough, you’ll even be able to build on some of them, effectively making them mobile bases of sorts, which is extremely useful given how much land you’ll have to traverse. Building your own paths, like bridges, will be fundamental to getting anywhere in a reasonable time. Aside from the locations marked by quests, there will be traders to find, but nothing else much interesting. There are no secrets off the beaten path, nothing you can’t find that isn’t marked automatically at some point. Custom waypoints and markers in the shape of flags are very useful to keep track of what’s what, since the map won’t automatically mark traders or resource-rich spots – you have to do that yourself, and with how big the world is, you’ll need to.

Combat System & Bosses

For most part of the early to mid-game in Night of the Dead, ammunition will be scarce and you’ll be too broke to buy them in bulk from traders; that means good old melee will be your bread and butter, and not a bad solution at dealing with zombies. An assortment of weapons ranging from swords to spears to hammers is available in color-coded rarity tiers, giving them passive bonuses and traits – you can also mod them freely with powerful attachments. The melee combat is clunky and inconsistent and seems taken out of an early alpha rather than a finished product. Many times you’ll be hit by obscene hitboxes, or bamboozled by super-jank animations. However, the damage system on zombies is dynamic and pleasant enough, allowing you to mutilate them to diminish their threat.

Ranged weapons work well enough, and are an all-around superior alternative that, however, costs ammo, which is hard to come by in sufficient amounts. Until late-game, there are very few firearms actually worth using, compared to the melee weapons which only cost durability. Regardless, you’ll need bullets to face bosses, because going melee against their teleporting, animation-skipping, hitreg-bending melee attacks is a sure way to end up dead. Speaking of bosses, they have evolving phases as their health decreases, and have a chance to drop unique items you can’t obtain in other ways – grinding them numerous times using Access Cards, obtained by looting or side quests, is the only way to get gear strong enough to face the late-game threats.

Base Building & Crafting

Your base can be built anywhere in the world without limits. A vast array of walls, facilities, defenses and utility buildings is available and progressively unlocked as you defeat bosses and complete research projects, using the Research papers dropped by enemies, sort of like XP, but for passives and abilities that allow you to craft new, or better stuff. The quality of life is great, and even if the inventory controls take a while to get used to, after a bit your base will be a comfortable safe haven in the apocalypse. But this can end every night when enormous hordes of zombies attack it, so preparing your defenses strategically, in a tower-defense style almost, will be paramount for your survival. You’ll have to make sure to not run out of power, maintain the defenses taking damage, and reload any ranged turrets with ammunition regularly – all while zombies pound at your door.

night of the dead 3
Preparing and upgrading the defenses. You never know if it will be enough, as new and more powerful zombies will come each night.

If you liked this game, you might also enjoy…
Hellbreach Vegas | Sons of the Forest | Generation Zero

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