One of the most popular managing games on the market is Fallout Shelter, but there are also many other decent managing games out there. One of them is Zero City: Zombie Shelter Survival, which got released on the 2nd of July 2019. Most shelter-managing games share very similar systems, which is the main reason why I don’t play many of them.
However, the last managing game I played was a few years ago, so it’s time to try a new one. In this review, I will share with you my experience that I had with Zero City, everything from gameplay to in-game monetization. Let’s see if this game is just another mainstream shelter game.
Before we dive into the depths of Zero City, it might be interesting to take a detour through a similar realm of voxel-based exploration and adventure in our analysis of Cube World, a game that offers a unique perspective on the genre.
Watch the launch trailer:
Zero City: Zombie Shelter Survival – Gameplay
As already said, most shelter managers share very similar game mechanics with each other, which makes most games extremely similar, and thus, boring to play. Our time is not unlimited, so we shouldn’t waste it with just another boring game.
Zero City looks pretty similar to Hustle Castle, which is also a sheltered game, but with a different style. Most of your time, you will manage your shelter, upgrade rooms, train your dwellers, produce items, and more, so you have enough work to do. In the beginning, building and upgrading rooms don’t take much time (you can skip most building processes for free), but if you get more into the game, building things takes longer and longer.
Over time, you will unlock new rooms for your shelter, which cost cash to build. To produce more cash (or other resources), place some dwellers in these rooms (the more, the better), and equip them with gear. For example, equipping a “Typographer’s Suit,” or a “Utility Knife” enhances the productivity massively.
Note: Training your dwellers is needed, so they can use better equipment, such as armor, bracelets, weapons, and devices. In the beginning, you can only increase their fighter attributes, but when you unlock the kitchen, you can increase this attribute too.
Most managing games use this mechanic to prevent players from rushing through the whole game in just a few days. However, we can skip building times by spending some crypto coins (in-game currency).
To upgrade your shelter, you need to gather resources (cash, food, wood, reagents) that you can collect by clearing missions, open chests, or defeating other players. Besides the managing of your shelter, you can also complete a storyline that stretches over a few cities, which are full of zombies.
The combat takes place on a 2D stage, on which your troops face the defensive of other players, zombies, and bosses. However, we can’t control what our troops are doing, but we can support them with airstrikes, painkillers, first aid kits, decoys, and more. This is especially helpful if you face a stronger opponent.
Such power-ups can be created in your shelter, by building the chemical workshop, and by upgrading it, you can unlock more supplies for your troops (8 supplies currently in the game).
If your troops get damage in the battle, they will regenerate completely, even if they get defeated. They also don’t lose their equipped gear, which is a good feature. Having proper equipment is very important, since it makes you troops much more durable, or can enhance the number of resources they produce per hour.
Besides the regular missions, you can also enter the arena, railroad raids, insular massacre, or the tunnels, which enable you to battle other players or earn exclusive items. For example, by winning matches in the arena, you will get arena chips that you can use to buy rare equipment or crates.
At the moment you upgraded the Command Center to level 5, you can also build the alliance hall, so you can join an alliance with your friends. If the alliance has enough members, you can also be part of alliance wars against other people around the world to win decent prizes.
Visuals of Zero City:
Zero City isn’t the prettiest game out there and surely can’t catch up with The Seven Deadly Sins Grand Cross, Sonic Dash, or Skullgirls. However, the goal of this game isn’t too look good, and the Visuals aren’t that bad (they are ok ??).
It would be nice if the animations during a battle would be improved since they don’t look that good.
The main screen (where you can see your whole shelter) looks decently detailed, and all the dwellers follow their routines. Especially when you have a bigger population, you have a lot to look at. If you want to play Zero City in HD quality, go to the settings and press “HD On.” This restarts the game, and now, everything looks a bit more detailed and sharp.
As we spend most of our time on the main screen, the game gives us also the option to customize the style of our shelter. To do that, tap on the command center, and then on shelter appearance. In this menu, you can choose between multiple skins for each area. However, most of these skins cost some cryptocoins.
How is Zero City monetized?
Like in many other shelter games, you can also spend money on the game to get extra rewards and other gifts. Zero City is heavily monetized with in-game packages, video advertisements, and a premium pass.
Whenever you run low on food, the game gives you the option to watch video advertisements to regain a good amount of food. You can also watch ads to get free crates, and character cards, or to skip the training sessions of your dwellers.
If you don’t care about watching a few ads per day, this is a good opportunity to be able to play the game for a bit longer. Luckily, the game doesn’t force you to watch the advertisements, if you don’t want to.
However, if you want to spend some money on the game, you could buy special offers, which change from time to time, or cryptocoins. These coins can be used to speed up construction and training sessions or to purchase cash and food. Besides this, there’s an option to buy a “Zombie Assistant,” which will gather resources for you and complete the training of your troops while you are offline.
Note: Currently, we can also buy a dog for our shelter, for a “small” price of 10,99€, which is definitely too much for a pet that does absolutely nothing.
The last option to spend money on the game is the premium pass, that eighter lasts for 15 or 30 days, depending on what you choose. The pass gives you various benefits to increase your productivity:
- Maximum happiness bonus
- Extra resources for victories in PvE and PvP
- Reduced construction times and room upgrade times
- Reduced item crafting times
- Supplies production and upgrade time reduced
- Enhanced daily crate
- The hospital restores units health everywhere in the shelter
- Double rewards for daily missions
- Supplies production limit increased from 9 to 18
- 2 times as many resources for friends
- Battles can be sped up
- Additional free Railroad Station raid
As you can see, having access to these buffs can speed up your progression massively, especially in the beginning. Having more resources than others also means that you can win battles easier than they can do, which is not very F2P friendly. However, I see no need to spend money on the game, as you can get far in the game without spending a dime on it. It just takes more time to get there.
Does Zero City offer long term potential?
Shelter games can be extremely addictive, as you probably know if you played one previously. Zero City Zombie Shelter Survival is also a very addictive game, which I experienced by myself. Over the last few days, I spend too much time in the game, watching my dwellers following their routines.
From time to time, I started the game again to get some resources, get more dwellers, and train them. I would say that the game offers good potential to be played for quite some time, even if you played Fallout Shelter previously.
The combat and equipment system brings good variety into the game, so it’s not only upgrading the shelter every day. In the beginning, I didn’t expect anything special from the game, but I got surprised by how much fun I had playing it. So, I can recommend giving this game a shot if you look for a new shelter managing game.
And if you already play the game for a while, feel free to share your experience with me in the comments below.
Zero City: Zombie Shelter Survival emerges as a beacon of engaging gameplay and strategic depth in the vast sea of shelter management games. It’s not just another clone, but a game that carves its own identity with its unique features and mechanics. The game’s visuals may not be its strongest suit, but they serve their purpose, providing a decent backdrop for intricate gameplay.
The monetization aspect, while present, doesn’t overshadow the fun. The game offers plenty of opportunities for players who prefer not to spend money, although the premium pass does offer some tempting benefits.
The game’s long-term potential is evident in its addictive nature. The thrill of managing your shelter, training dwellers, and battling zombies keeps you coming back for more. The combat and equipment system adds a layer of complexity that keeps the game from becoming monotonous.
In the end, if you’re a fan of strategic role-playing games, you might also enjoy exploring the high seas and engaging in epic battles in a game that shares similarities with Zero City but is set in a world of pirates and treasure.