In Zombie Cure Lab most of the world’s population has been turned into zombies. Tucked away in the wilderness of Canada a facility of scientists survived the zombie outbreak. Ever since they have been trying to find a cure and turn those affected by the virus from brain eating zombies back into humans again. You will run a lab in the field collecting zombies and other resources required to cure the zombie outbreak.
Zombie Cure Lab initially intrigued me because it seemed to combine video game genres that I really enjoy.
At its core the game is a colony simulation. Your job is to build and run the facility. You start with the bare necessities and have to build things up into a well running facility. You start the game with a number of scientists that you can put to work. At first they will mostly be gathering basic resources. As you advance in the game they will start creating more advanced resources. You basically need to micromanage your scientists/workers. To survive you need to gather resources as quickly as possible while also expanding and advancing your facilities.
This shares a lot in common with many games from its genre. Where Zombie Cure Lab differentiates itself is through the survival and tower defense mechanics. Your facility is surrounded by zombies. Thus you need to properly defend yourself. You defend yourself through building protective walls and creating various freeze weapons. Most nights a horde of zombies will attack your facility. The number and intensity of the units depends on a number of factors. You need to keep your scientists safe while also holding off the attackers until morning. A lot of your success depends on building various towers that will over time freeze the zombies in place.
Unlike a lot of zombie games, you don’t want to kill the zombies. This is due to the fact that you hope to one day cure them. In the meantime they become a useful addition to your workforce. While defending your facility you will freeze some of the attackers. If you bring these frozen zombies to a laboratory you can start the process of curing them. This will turn them into a Humbie. While not quite human yet, at least they aren’t hostile towards your scientists. These Humbies are important since you can use them as additional workers in your facility. That is if you can keep them happy enough that they don’t cause mayhem.
When I first saw Zombie Cure Lab the thing that stood out to me the most was the combination of a simulation game with a survival/tower defense game. I really like both genres and was quite curious to see how they would work together. The good news is that I think the game does a really good job combining the two mechanics.
In action the two mechanics support each other well. In an abandoned world, there are resources laying out in the open that you can scavenge. You need to gather these resources in order to protect yourself from the soon to be invading hordes of zombies. You need to build up your resource gathering facilities to generate a solid supply of goods to keep your people safe.
To survive you can’t ignore the defense aspect of the game either. Obviously you need to prevent the zombies from breaching your walls and turning your scientists into zombies. You will lose needed workers and it is hard to rebuild should the zombies breach your walls. Stopping the zombies is also key because it is the fastest way of expanding your workforce. It is oddly satisfying to stop your enemies and then turn them into additional workers that you can use to further improve your facility.
While Zombie Cure Lab just entered the early access process, I am already having a lot of fun with it. The mechanics work really well. If you have any experience playing these type of games before you can jump right into the game. The controls are pretty self explanatory to veterans of the genre.
I think what is best about the game is that it is really satisfying to build a well run facility. To succeed in the game you need to do a good job creating a stable supply of all of the necessary resources. You will use these resources to maintain your facility while also expanding to cover a larger area, support additional workers, and utilize more advanced facilities.
I think I was most impressed by the fact that Zombie Cure Lab is already quite polished. The developers intend to keep the game in early access for a year. The game has a few bugs here and there, but for the most part it is already a complete game. There are some things missing here and there, but all of the major mechanics are already in the game where you can get a complete experience. There are some things that I hope the developers add in the future. Even if nothing else would get added to the game though, I would still enjoy playing it. If the game’s premise intrigues you at all, I think you will enjoy playing Zombie Cure Lab.
While I am quite impressed with Zombie Cure Lab so far, there are a couple of things that I think could be improved.
The first is that your workers sometimes seem to refuse to do any work. This seemed to be a bigger problem before some of the most recent updates so it may no longer be an issue. Occasionally some workers would just stand there doing nothing when I had jobs that needed to filled by workers. This was a pretty rare occurrence, but it was kind of annoying when it happened. Sometimes workers would work at a machine and would then suddenly stop. The only way to get them to use it again was to move it to a new location. I am not entirely sure why this happened. Additionally workers would sometimes take what felt like longer routes than they needed to get to their destination.
The second “issue” I had with the game is that I wish there was a better way of scheduling your workers’ time. Each day in Zombie Cure Lab consists of a day and night period. Each job/work station allows you to assign scientists/humbies to work both the day and night cycle or you can assign them to just one of the two. I kind of wish the game would allow you to assign one of the two periods for time off where they could handle all of their needs. Instead all of your workers handle their needs whenever they need to. There will be plenty of times where you are left looking at an empty workstation. This is because its worker is either getting food or sleeping. This can be kind of frustrating especially when you really need the resource that facility produces.
The final issue that I had with Zombie Cure Lab is that it has a learning curve. The game has a dedicated tutorial level that teaches you all of the basics for how to play the game. I give the game credit as I think the tutorial does a good job teaching you the basics. There is still a learning curve to Zombie Cure Lab though. When you first start playing the game you will make mistakes which will eventually lead to your demise. You need to do a good job building up your resource generation or you will fall behind after a while. You need to build up your number of humbies and keep them happy, or you won’t have enough workers to complete all of the necessary tasks. Thus you need to prioritize which resources are the most important.
Heading into Zombie Cure Lab I was intrigued because I thought the premise of combining a simulation game with a tower defense/survival game was really interesting. In action I am quite impressed with where the game is at this time. The two main mechanics work surprisingly well together. It is fun creating a well run facility that provides you the resources needed to fend off the zombies and expand. The mechanics are straightforward and work well. If you are intrigued by the premise and generally enjoy these type of games, I think you should seriously consider picking up Zombie Cure Lab.
Zombie Cure Lab
Release Date: Early Access – December 7th, 2022 | Systems: PC
Developer: Thera Bytes GmbH | Publisher: Aerosoft GmbH | ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Genres: Simulation, Strategy, Tower Defense
Official Website: https://www.zombiecurelab.com/
- Fun combination of simulation and survival/tower defense mechanics.
- Quite polished for a game just entering early access.
- I wish you could have a little more control over what your workers do.
- Has a bit of a learning curve as you will make mistakes early on which will ultimately lead to your failure.
Recommendation: If you are intrigued by the premise and generally enjoy these type of games, I would recommend checking out Zombie Cure Lab.
Where to Purchase: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Thera Bytes GmbH and Aerosoft GmbH for the preview copy of Zombie Cure Lab used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to preview, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the preview copy for free had no impact on the content of this preview.