Infection Free Zone
Image: Games Operators

Infection Free Zone review – Zombies in your backyard

I can see my house from here!

Infection Free Zone is an average zombie apocalypse survival game with the caveat of being able to answer the age-old question – can you survive a zombie apocalypse where you live?

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Simulate the apocalypse anywhere in the world

When I caught wind of Infection Free Zone, I thought the setting for the game was too good to be true. The Steam page claims that you can pick anywhere in the world to play. I limited my expectations and imagined that maybe we’d get some major cities from a selection of countries, which would still be pretty cool.

I was wrong. You truly can play anywhere in the world.

Infection Free Zone Globe
Screenshot: PC Invasion

I immediately searched up the city that I lived in and was blown away to see my street, my road, the local park, and nearby shops. It was as if Google Maps had been taken over by the infected. I clicked on buildings that I knew to be shops and establishments – and their names were written in the game!

I genuinely couldn’t believe it.

As long as there are enough buildings in the area you choose, you’ll be able to simulate the apocalypse there. It’s crazy to go looking around the globe and see famed locations rendered in front of you. Seeing the infected rush past the Millennium Falcon in Disney World is truly bizarre.

Disney Land Infection Free Zone
Screenshot: PC Invasion

This feature alone will entertain for a long time, starting different saves in different parts of the world, or even just having a look at locations within the game, is so much fun. Turning on scavenge mode and seeing that weapons and ammunition can be found at your local police station and first aid kits can be found at your hospital is surreal.

I soon stopped messing around with Google Maps: Zombie Edition, and buckled down to play the game.

A thrilling yet average zombie survival experience

I want to give this game insanely high praise just because I still can’t get over the “anywhere in the world” thing, but once the novelty wears off, you’re left with what is a pretty average, yet occasionally thrilling, zombie colony survival game.

You will send your squads out to scavenge abandoned buildings and send your citizens out to turn those buildings into Shelters, Warehouses, Research Centers, Cookhouses, and other typical apocalypse infrastructure. Rinse and repeat this every day until you struggle to defend yourself, then start again.

Infection Free Zone Gathering Wood
Screenshot: PC Invasion

One thing I do enjoy with Infection Free Zone is that your citizens are flexible, and can take on any role, even in the creation of squads. This versatility allows you to keep changing professions without having to think about what people can and can’t do.

But this doesn’t really help when you have loads of jobs that need doing and not enough hands to help out.

One problem with Infection Free Zone (that will certainly get fixed – it’s in Early Access, after all) is that you always seem to be low on one resource or another, and so many of your citizens need to be out gathering and collecting while the buildings you need built are just sitting there. Some days I felt like I made no progress at all despite my best efforts as they take forever to do any one job.

Escorting Survivors Infection Free Zone
Screenshot: PC Invasion

It isn’t too hard to get more citizens, but with more citizens, more food is needed, and getting those production chains up requires a lot of resources and people, the problem in the first place. Not to mention that winter is only some days away whenever you start a game, so you’re scrambling from the get-go. However, flexibility is a boon when the sun retreats under the horizon.

When night falls, you can reassign your workers to become guards and form squads to fight off the infected and get them back to work during the day. And trust me, you’ll need all the help you can get when night falls.

Infection Free Zone Fighting
Screenshots: PC Invasion

As long as it’s not a full moon, the Infected will creep out and threaten your base. They can very quickly destroy your buildings, so you’ll need squad and Guard Tower coverage ideally everywhere. The difficulty really ramps up as the nights go on, and I wonder how I survived each and every one when morning comes up.

Each night is genuinely thrilling and stressful but provides a sense of relief and awful foreboding of what’s to come next.

With these cycles of dangerous nighttime combat and slow progress during the day trying to multitask building new defenses, making enough food, gathering resources, and scavenging – you’ll always feel one step behind. Which I suppose is on-theme for a zombie apocalypse game. I both love and hate this, which I think is a compliment.

Infection Free Zone does benefit from a story of sorts, which is interesting and exciting in its own right. I really appreciate that the game isn’t just an endless sandbox and does have some substance other than just “survive until you can’t.”

Infection Free Zone Base
Screenshots: PC Invasion

Yet despite the highs, this game is fundamentally an average zombie apocalypse game. When looking at the gameplay itself, regardless of whether you’re playing in your hometown or in the sinking city of Venice, it plays pretty typically.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just if you’re anything like me, the shelf life of this game may be limited. There aren’t too many features – you are simply building toward surviving every night, which gets increasingly harder and harder. And unless you reach the end of the story, you’ll eventually crumble under your own weight and just have to start again.

Infection Free Zone has so much potential

I believe it’s worth mentioning that Infection Free Zone has an incredible amount of potential. Being in Early Access, there is so much content waiting. Of course, we can look forward to more buildings, more enemy types, and balancing, but given that this game is set in the real world, there is so much more that can be done.

Infection Free Zone Scavengings
Screenshots: PC Invasion

Infection Free Zone could implement region and geological-specific features, from something simple like names and pictures of your survivors to accurate local wildlife. If you’re near a zoo, will there be infected lions and penguins? What if you’re playing in Brazil near a forest, will there be infected Howler Monkeys?

Such details will radically change the game depending on where you play.

The potential here is endless, and it makes me so excited for the game’s future. It’ll elevate this game from an average zombie survival simulator to something extraordinarily special, as it will feel so real and alive. It already is pretty special as I’m able to repurpose my local Halfords into a warehouse, but it can be so much more.

It’s still worth picking up if you’re a fan of zombie apocalypse colony management games, as it stands as a pretty solid one with all the stresses and pressures you could ask for. But I’d pick it up for the potential alone.

7.5
Infection Free Zone
Infection Free Zone may currently be a rather standard zombie apocalypse experience, but it is exciting and thrilling, and that's not mentioning the hours of fun exploring real world locations (and your home).

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Author
Aidan Lambourne
Aidan Lambourne is a contributing writer for PC Invasion, with almost a couple years of experience in the industry. He has written about Roblox extensively, although has keenly covered new releases and indie games. A passionate writer and gamer, he still can't really believe he gets to indulge in both for a career.