7 Days To Die Review - Is It Worth Playing in 2023

Fight back hordes of undead and live to see another day. Or die repeatedly. That's always an option.

Any hesitation about playing 7 Days to Die is understandable: the game is nearly 10 years old and has never left Alpha. It's also one of the few games that has seen consistent updates and changes throughout its time in Early Access.  I stopped buying Early Access games for quite some time because of how many wound up being abandoned by their creators.

Is it worth buying after ten years in development? Let's take a look at the game's features and figure that out.


About 7 Days to Die

7 Days to Die is an open-world zombie survival sandbox game. Craft by day, defend yourself at night—mostly. Don't run out of food or water, and don't let the wildlife or other players kill you. Good luck.

The Fun Pimps released the game into Steam's Early Access in December 2013. Since then, it's up to 20 major Alpha updates alone and boasts 800 in-game items plus 1300 different building blocks.

The only limits? Your imagination and physics. Yes, physics. More on that in a bit.

Over 14 million copies of 7 Days to Die have sold since release. 


7 Days to Die Story

This is turning out to be a really bad day.

Welcome to Navezgane, Arizona, population: you, a handful of survivors, and millions of the shambling dead. You're a survivor in a world decimated by the third world war, trying to stay alive with a mysterious virus on the loose and its victims trying to eat you.

7 Days to Die has a pretty typical storyline among zombie media, but you won't run into story content outside of quest and treasure map text. It's Coming Soon™, eventually.

There's plenty of room for creating your own stories here, but if you play games in order to follow a narrative and get immersed in someone else's tale, this isn't the game for you. Yet.


7 Days to Die Gameplay

A little sample of how the game works.

Before you start playing, you get to create your own character using a bunch of sliders. The model updates in real time as you make adjustments.  Hair options are limited. You're not gonna see much of your character once you enter the game, though: 90% of the time, you're in first person view. You have the option of selecting a premade character if you just want to jump into the game.

7 Days to Die doesn't have classes. You earn XP through activities like killing zombies, harvesting materials, and chewing on the scenery. As you level up, you get points that you can put into improving your character.

You'll also find better equipment and recipes for making new things as you play. If you make friends with traders at city outposts, you can buy your way to having incredible gear, instead.

It's possible to sustain your gameplay entirely on crafting, or on running quests, or just by scavenging. You can choose to be nomadic. You can build up a kick-ass shelter or improve an existing building and make it your own.

Just make sure that whatever you build is structurally sound. Knock out too many walls, or dig too large of a cave, and everything will come crashing down on top of you.

Like I said earlier: physics. The game does inform you if what you're building won't support itself, just watch for the blocks to change color. If you're building something and the blocks orange or red, it's time to set up a support pillar.

You won't find friendly NPCs outside of the traders outside every major city. Each trader acts as a vendor and quest-giver. They'll send you to other traders sometimes, but that's the extent of interaction.

There are currently 30 different zombies in the game. Of those, 11 are 'normal', 8 are a little tougher than average, and 11 are special. Special zombies—including bears—have different skills and mechanics that make them dangerous.

I think you made a wrong turn somewhere, biker dude.

Every type of zombie can spawn as an extra-fast, extra-tough feral or Radiated version. If you think being mauled by an undead bear is bad, try getting puked on by a radioactive cop that explodes when near-death.

Much of the fun of 7D2D comes in the form of randomly-generated maps. From 4k to 16k, representing areas as big as 256Km², you have plenty of room to play and slay. The game places towns, villages, points of interest, and biomes based upon the options you pick in the generator.

That feature alone helps replayability, and with a healthy modding community and hundreds of active servers, there are options for building the game beyond what you get out of the box.


7 Days to Die Combat

Show those zombies who's boss with a range of weapons and combat styles. Take this agility combat build, for instance.

The game prepares you for the apocalypse with 52 craftable weapons in three categories: melee, ranged, and explosives. As your character levels up, you're able to invest points into different perks that improve your killing power.. Perks also teach you to make better quality weapons.

7D2D gradually increases the difficulty of zombie spawns the longer you play. With the Blood Moon Horde arriving every 7th day and getting bigger each time, there's no shortage of targets. The game hasn't introduced any 'bosses' yet, though some zombies can feel like that kind of an encounter when they're exploding in your face and you don't yet have the equipment to handle them.

Like most games of its type, 7D2D uses a free aiming system. Headshots are king, but can be difficult to obtain because of the jerky movements zombies make. Once you learn how to aim, or once you craft or loot a scope, you'll have no problem taking out the shambling undead from a distance.

Nothing is more satisfying than a baseball bat to a zombie noggin, though.

Multiplayer combat works similarly to PvE in that you hit the other person until they die.

One feature that 7D2D has that I rarely see elsewhere: auto-attacking turrets and robotics. Build a drone to help heal you, or build shotgun turrets to shoot down zombies and protect your base.

7 Days to Die Quest/Mission System

After the intro quest that walks you through the basics of survival, the game leaves you to figure things out yourself. Quests are picked up at traders, which are points of interest in the game where you can buy or sell stuff. Quests are a great way to obtain amazing gear early on, and they just get better as you complete them.

When you approach a trader, hit 'E' to interact, and select the "Do you have any jobs?" option to open up their list of missions.

Quests are split into multiple types: clear an area of zombies, fetch an item, fetch an item while killing zombies, restore power, establish a trade route (visit another trader), or dig up buried supplies. You can improve the rewards you get from these quests by putting points into the appropriate perks.

Missions automatically increase in difficulty as you complete more of them.

This system gets repetitive, especially if the game is repeatedly giving you one or two mission types.


7 Days to Die Graphics

It isn't going to blow your mind with realism, but it still looks decent enough that you can lose hours just tinkering around.

7D2D will run on its lowest graphics settings on a machine that is close to, but doesn't meet, the minimum system requirements. It's recommended to have at least 12 GB RAM, a graphics card with 4 GB dedicated video memory, a 3.2 Ghz Quad Core CPU or better, and at least 15 GB hard drive space. With a handful of mods, it still clocks in at under 20 GB and scratches my survival itch without breaking my hard drive.

Unlike some games (ARK, I'm looking at you).

Do not pet the zombies.

Zombies look semi-realistic, with shiny gore and jerky movements. The illusion gets broken when the zombies die and ragdoll physics take over, or a rabbit glitches as it dies and the corpse goes zooming across the desert.

7D2D's graphics are decent for an early access game. They aren't AAA-level, but they don't have to be. You can and will get absorbed in whatever you're doing, and you won't have to have a $3,000 system to enjoy it.


7 Days to Die Developer

The Fun Pimps was founded in 2012 and started developing 7 Days to Die over Thanksgiving dinner. Each developer has extensive experience in the gaming industry, and the company has been very open to ideas put forward by the community.

Features brought up by players get discussed and implemented on a regular basis, and if they aren't, then the modding community is right on it. There have been weeks where multiple fix-it patches have gone out to deal with bugs, with most major issues getting fixed not long after they've been found and researched.

Bug fixes come out on a regular basis, with no more than two months between small patches (usually) and a maximum of 8 months between major content drops.

7 Days to Die Price

7D2D retails for $24.99 USD and goes on sale for 60-70% off during major Steam sales—it was $5.99 in March 2023. Unless you're desperate to scratch that zombie-shooting itch, there's no reason that you have to buy it at full price.

Mac and Linux users are able to play the game, too, and it's available on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Console versions haven't been updated since 2017 due to the closure of Telltale Games, and in November 2022 it was announced work is being done to port the game to Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, so stay tuned.



  • Lots to do
  • Thriving modding community
  • Fair price point
  • Fun with friends or alone
  • Sees regular updates


  • 10 years in Alpha is a long time
  • Console version is not up-to-date
  • Major patches tend to force server wipes because they change so much stuff

Score: 7/10

In short: Alpha 21 is looming and due for release Soon™. Wait until it drops before investing time in this game, as it's going to change a lot of mechanics and make chunks of what I've written here completely moot. Surprise!

7 Days to Die Review - Is It Worth Playing in 2023 Fight back hordes of undead and live to see another day. Is 7 Days to Die worth playing in 2023, after 10 years in alpha? Find out with our review!

You may also be interested in:

More on this topic:

When not recounting the adventures of the Enterprise crew, Melissa roleplays as the co-owner of a vintage store and hunts for treasure at online auctions.
Gamer Since: 1990
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Star Trek Online, 7 Days to Die, Vampire Survivors, World of Warcraft
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls Online, Star Trek, Diablo

More Top Stories