The premise behind 7 Days to Die is strong: it's an open-world zombie survival horror game smashed together with the crafting and building elements of Minecraft. That description sounds compelling, but the final product doesn't come anywhere near to being fun.

Before you jump into the actual game, you are given a plethora of options to customise your experience. You have a wide array of characters to choose from (pointless if you're playing single player as the experience is first-person), and you can also select how tough the zombies are, how the zombies act, and how the weather and time works in your game world. Furthermore, you can opt to play in a completely random world or in the pre-set district of Navezgane.

You have one goal in 7 Days to Die: survive for as long as possible. However, this endurance aspect seems kind of pointless as death doesn't set you back in any way whatsoever. You can craft bedrolls and set them down to use as a spawn point when you eat it – similar to how beds work in Minecraft – while similarly you can return to where you died to collect all of your belongings. The problem with this is that there is literally no consequences for dying, because no matter how many times you die on your way back, your backpack full of gear will always be there, waiting for you to collect.

The game also has an incredibly deep but also convoluted crafting system. You have a huge array of items that you can make, and you can find crafting recipes around the world allowing you to build guns or other complex items. However, crafting anything other than the most basic of items is needlessly complicated. Most concoctions require half a dozen different resources, most of which you'll need random luck to come across in the world.

Moreover, considering much of your time in this game is spent fighting off the undead, wild dogs, and bears, the combat is horrendous. Melee combat is incredibly clunky and cumbersome and the melee weapons you can craft are downright useless. We found most of the time it was actually more efficient and easier to kill zombies with our bare hands than with a stone club. Guns are what you really want to be using to defend yourself in this game, but unfortunately the means of obtaining one is extremely frustrating, for the reasons outlined above.

To make matters worse, the enemy AI is also annoying for the most part. Zombies rule in the night-time, and as a result you are forced to take shelter, but despite being locked away in your safe house and being incredibly quiet as to not attract any attention, zombies will still frustratingly smash your door down and attack you.

Meanwhile, you need to constantly be aware of the weather in 7 Days to Die, as snow and rain will make you cold and force you to take shelter if you don't have adequate clothing. Alternatively, when the weather gets warmer, you're forced to remove you armour and clothing so that you don't become dehydrated. This had the potential to be an interesting mechanic, but unfortunately weather conditions change far too quickly, resulting in you spending a significant amount of time equipping and unequipping clothing in the game's incredibly clunky and painful to navigate inventory.

But the very worst aspect of the game is that it runs terribly. This outing is less than stellar graphically – and the open world isn't exactly gigantic – so there's no excuse for the game to be freezing up every few seconds. We also encountered stacks of glitches like enemies clipping through walls or enemies floating through the air.

Conclusion

7 Days to Die has a compelling premise, but it withers within minutes. The gameplay here is fundamentally not fun, and having to deal with technical issues every few seconds becomes extremely grating. The multiplayer injects a little entertainment, if only because you'll be observing the release's shoddiness with others. In all, this is a bit of a rotter.