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Xbox Gold has churned out some great free stuff to Xbox Live subscribers in the past couple of months. The free game program rewards members for being loyal Xbox Gold subscription holders. Each month they offer two games for free.

This month, one of the free games is for How To Survive. As the title implies, this one teaches you how to survive when you find yourself stranded on an island completely infested with the living dead.

This overhead survival-slasher does a great job of creating a game where everything that you do is in the name of survival, not only is it survival from zombies but also from dehydration, hunger and exhaustion.

This is done by collecting water, foraging for food and locating shelter where you can find it. In order to survive you also have to craft bow and arrows, crossbows, shotguns and anything else you need to create to survive.

How to Survive is a game of mindful resource. You have to think ahead in order to stay ahead of your hunger and other vital necessities. You and the zombies aren’t alone on the island either. You will have to assist other survivors with their tasks in order to progress in different missions.

It is frustrating to have to constantly watch out for zombies and hunger but it is a good frustration that makes for an addictive experience.

Nothing in the survival realm is off limits, build fishing rods in order to fish for food, or tryout your huntings skills. Craft armor out of whatever you can find and combine in order to protect yourself from the teeth and nails of the living dead.

The combat system is a satisfying one. The sound of a machete lobbing off the head of a zombie or a carefully placed arrow through one of their eyeballs will keep you from getting bored. This is one of those games that does get repetitive but remains a fun repetitive.

During the loading screens you are given the chance to answer trivia questions, Answer those questions correctly and you will be awarded with XP to help you level up. It is a nice change to stay engaged during a loading screen and the trivia throws in a nice way to do exactly that.

One of the central survivors on the island is named Kovac. This guy is totally covered in armor and seems to do a great job at survival on the island. He is the one that teaches you how to survive. Occasionally he will take you to his home base and give you tips in certain survival techniques, throughout the game you will also find his notebooks that teach you even more methods for survival.

Multiplayer is a really nice addition in a game like this. Team up with friends online and watch each others backs when surrounded by hordes of zombies. Two player split screen, is sadly one that some games have been leaving out too much lately. “How to Survive,” is a nice game that doesn’t want to hurt our feelings and knows what we like. It keeps local play and is a better game for doing it.

How to Survive takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the zombie genre. It is fun and is a game that I intended to play for the thirty minutes that it took my pizza to cook. Long story short I ended up with a burnt pizza and played from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., yea. It is a game that sneaks up on you and hooks you with those survival elements. It is one of those rare games that makes fun of monotony. Kinda like driving forklifts in Shemue… but you know, with zombies.

How to Survive is currently free on Xbox Live to Gold subscribers through the rest of Aug. Give it a download and tell us what you think.

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