Zombies, zombies everywhere and not enough to kill. Enter the world of the survivor; a shipwrecked individual who has to use their ingenuity to survive an island of the undead and try to escape. Are you smart enough to outwit the undead or will you become another one of their legion? Welcome to How to Survive.
Zombie games are becoming a dime a dozen, essentially becoming a genre in their own right. H2S tries to be different by focusing the game and story on one element that is missing from a lot of zombie games: the survival. Dead Island tried to incorporate that with weapon degradation, but H2S takes it a step further asking you to manage your fatigue, thirst and hunger. Yes, hunger, that magical condition for living that 99.9 percent of games forget is essential for staying alive. Your sprint meter is also limited and drains faster than it recovers, making much of the gameplay in H2S a battle of wits.
Following a shipwreck and with just a backpack in your possession, the player is tasked with using anything and everything he finds to craft the right weapons needed for survival. Pieces of chain, tubing and a jerry can, for example, can be turned into a powerful chainsaw. The same goes for armor and healing items. Sadly, there is not a lot of depth to the crafting system, like in Dead Rising, because it follows a standard RPG formula. Make a weapon, progress in the game, find better designs, deconstruct and make the newer, better weapon. Then lather, rinse and repeat for the small amount of items that are creatable.
There are three characters available for selection, each with a different attack animation, skills and abilities. Leveling up is a slow process, one that makes the grinding from the NES version of Final Fantasy feel like a five second sprint. It sounds harsh but it feels like it was tacked on rather than an integral part of the game. Skills also feel useless. Each time you level up you get a skill point to allocate in a chart system. The first point is useless though because you have to use it to learn how to light fires with your lighter, which can’t be skipped because otherwise the story can’t progress. Except for boosting abilities, the rest just negate the penalties of hardcore mode or allow you to make items.