Unturned: Minecraft Meets DayZ Meets Huge Popularity

By Graham Smith on July 10th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

I don't mind this. This looks fun.

In my day, we had to trawl through messageboards – uphill in both directions – to find new games we’d never heard of before. Now it’s possible to occasionally look at Steam’s top ten most played list and find something unfamiliar. That’s what happened today when Craig sent through word of Unturned, a game whose popularity seems almost inevitable: it’s an Early Access free-to-play multiplayer survival game with a blocky artstyle in which you cut down trees and fight the undead.

I’d be cynical about it all if it wasn’t for the trailer below, which reveals that the enemies are cute like Play-Doh and that you can drive a fire truck.

“Free-to-play” and “survival” have thus far been uncomfortable bedfellows, but there’s at least an attempt on Unturned to keep it fair. For example, £4 for a gold account mostly nets you aesthetic benefits like extra skins and a “golden name”. The straight-up power benefits it does offer – “boosted loot drops” and double XP bonuses – only work on special “Gold servers”, so at least those unwilling to pay can avoid those who have.

Although this is the first I’ve heard of the game, Unturned’s success hasn’t exactly happened overnight. It was only added to Steam a few days ago, but the alpha has been available to play elsewhere since November 2013. In fact, the game has technically been available since even earlier than that, as Unturned began as a LUA-scripted mod called Deadzone created within Roblox, a sandbox user-generated MMO aimed at teenagers.

I love that! I love that this thing has gone from humble beginnings to being played by more people than Rust, Terraria and DayZ. At the time of writing, there are 19,469 people playing Unturned concurrently through Steam. Does that mean it’s good? No. All of the most helpful reviews on Steam are positive, though. Does that mean it’s good? No. But it might mean that it’s worth checking out, and free-to-play means it’s at least easy to get started.

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24 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Played a bit with it over the last weeks, and concluded that it needs a bit more Things To Do when in co-op, while singleplayer is a rather rubbish experience for a while. You will not cover much ground alone, drop everything on death, and the zombie horde that ripped you apart will usually not despawn which means that between you and your loot is an army of crawling and walking undead that smell your blood like some twisted humanoid school of land sharks that will JUST. HUNT. YOU. DOWN.

  2. Artist says:

    Ugh, horrible visuals. Even for a “blocky” style.

    • Zankmam says:

      I hold the opposite opinion – I think that the graphics are very nice.

      Of course aesthetic/visuals =/= graphics, but I also think that the aesthetic is fine for now. A bit more color, more biomes and different environments as well as some polish – and boom, it will look great.

      Even if you *absolutely* hate the “Minecraft look”… I hate to break it to ya, but this is not it. If anything, the only “blocky” things in the game are the character models and… Clouds.

      Still, it does give a certain “Lego” feel, just like Roblox, although it feels less kiddy.

    • toxic avenger says:

      If you check out their Steam page, they have a picture of what the world looks like through development stages. It has gotten progressively better, more detailed, and more cohesive. So, there’s that.

    • Lanfranc says:

      I’m not fond of the trees. Not blocky enough. You have to commit fully to the blocky. :-|

  3. Lion Heart says:

    looks really horrible. like the guy looked at every fps and rpg ever and took the same cliched gameplay from them all and added rubbish graphics to it to make it look like minecraft…. looks more like a failure than minecrafy

    • Zankmam says:

      IMO the gameplay is fine and I wouldn’t call it cliched; like all of the current “(MMO) Survival games” it involves hardcore survival with hunting, gathering and foraging, crafting, melee and ranged combat. Simply, that’s the norm for these games now and I think that this particular one does it well.

      Give it time before truly assessing the gameplay and content.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, seems like any other banditry sim following after Day Z.

  4. hypercrisis says:

    I’d prefer they not make games like this in a style thats predominantly marketed to children.

    • Baines says:

      Article says it was originally made in Roblox, which is an MMO aimed at kids. Makes sense that it would keep some of the visual style of its source.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Has it been marketed, anywhere, to children?

      No, of course not.

      How a “style” can be “marketed” to children is beyond me. Perhaps you don’t know what marketing is.

      If you mean it’s a style that you personally believe children would like…. well, so what? Is South Park for children? The Simpsons? Hell, is Terraria or even Minecraft?

      Cartoons, or blocks, or bright colors, or whatever you’ve chosen to associate with children…. isn’t necessarily associated with children.

  5. tehsid says:

    Keep in mind this is a game made by a 16 year old.
    And I’ve spent the last two days playing for 10+ hours, and it’s an absolute blast. If you even remotely dig Survival games, you should give it a crack.

  6. rexx.sabotage says:

    ugh.

    Something tells me that this will become the wasteland where all the tweenage runoff from Notch’s hammering of the pay-to-win Minecraft servers will congeal.

    Tweenage Wasteland!

  7. jpm224 says:

    Game is lots of fun. Will be interesting to see how long it can hold a player base – At the moment it could use a bit more content and SERVER BROWSER (or at least a dedicated listing site). I’m thoroughly enjoying it right now, I just don’t know how long it will hold my attention.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    It feels like the result of performing some kind of set-theory operation on Minecraft and DayZ, but it’s still pretty fun even in its early stage.

  9. bolda500 says:

    Fantastic game inspired on Minecraft and DayZ. Keep it up. I would like to see more of these games created by 16 year old’s developers not large corporations.
    I recommend to test against criticism.

  10. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    Truly, the day that they stop the cynicism is the day that RPS jumps the snark.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    That was, if it was cynical at all, cynical towards the uselessness of Steam reviews which may be more of an indictment of Steams users.

  12. Lanfranc says:

    The mere thought is enough to drive anyone snark raving mad!