Failed State – Review
Follow Genre: Survival game
Developer: Siberian Digital
Publisher: Siberian Digital
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Failed State – Review

Site Score
Good: Fun gameplay, Fitting artstyle
Bad: Bland music, Controls can't be changed
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

A devastated city overrun by the ravenous undead brought back to life by a fungal disease and now preying on the flesh of the survivors is something nobody wishes for. It might sound very familiar, as various media have already tried their hand at giving us zombie-themed entertainment, but it is also the basic plot of Failed State, an indie game by Siberian Digital. And as is typical for these kinds of stories, one should be prepared for death and destruction around every corner.


There isn’t much of an opening to Failed State, throwing us right into the action. You can find plenty of notes that shed a bit of light on the situation though, as well as your own diary entries. You play as Rose, a young woman who lives somewhere in Ukraine and finds herself now separated from friends and family alike as she tries to survive what can only be described as the apocalypse. In what is called “the first wave” many natural disasters devastated the earth and now the second wave has taken the form of a fungal disease that reanimates corpses into viciously aggressive husks of their former selves. As if that wasn’t bad enough, winter is coming, and Rose will need to do anything she has to survive its harsh grasp.


Failed State mainly uses simple pixel graphics. There isn’t a ton of details, the characters’ faces lack facial features for example, but this only enhances the more unique and gritty vibe the game has. The various environments you explore look very nice though, and a vibrant color palette keeps the scenes from looking too muddy like some other zombie games tend to do. Because of these graphics, while there certainly are some implications of blood and gore, it never gets too graphic.


The music in this game is somber and melancholic, as is befitting for the backdrop of a city destroyed and its citizens turned into bloodthirsty monsters. There are also various sound effects that add to this effect. Overall nothing stands out but since the game is still in development this might change in the future. There is no voice acting.


Failed State is a story-driven survival game. Following a certain plot, you discover and explore various locations, looking for supplies needed to fill your next objective. You do this by looting closets and fridges and such, but also by breaking into certain rooms. For this, there is a simple lock picking mechanic that depends on you pressing a button at the right times, a bit like a quick time event.

While exploring, you can be sure to meet infected people or animals that pose an immediate danger to your health. It will be up to you to defend yourself by using either your trusty baseball bat or a gun if you have one handy. The gun might seem like the better choice, seeing as it does more damage and also allows you to keep your distance from the infected, but obviously, you’ll be using bullets and those are always in short supply. So it’s better to think twice about wasting them. Should an infected manage to grab you, a quick time event will need to be completed to break free, or it will cost you a fair share of health.

Healing can be done with medkits of course, which are one of the things you’ll hopefully find when looting. There’s plenty of other stuff to find too, including unique items that sometimes advance the story or give you background information on the setting. But more often than not you will just find materials used for crafting, which you can do at the crafting table at your home base.

Of course, there are also fellow survivors to meet in the wastelands. Talking to them will provide you with various dialogue options, making it so you can steer the conversation to subjects that interest you or are relevant to the situation. But survival comes at a steep price, so be careful who you trust out there. Sometimes hard choices will need to be made if you want to get out alive. Should you die though, you can always restart from the start of an area, as the game works with an autosave feature.

The only big downside to the gameplay is the controls. They are only really optimized for a qwerty keyboard and since you are not allowed to change the key bindings, you better have a controller handy or playing the game will be near impossible.


Failed State is currently in Early Access, meaning the game is not nearly complete yet. We are only getting a glimpse at what this title could be, and right now it is looking tentatively good. There are some slight hurdles to get over, but mostly we see a lot of potential for an intriguing little post-apocalyptic narrative.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Failed State - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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