Unturned: The Beauty of Snow

July 8, 2017


There is a great game available on Steam called Unturned. I have been playing it again recently.

I had spent a number of hours playing the basic Unturned map, Prince Edward Island, commonly abbreviated PEI. That is the standard, easy map. I recommend it as a good starting map to learn all the basics of how Unturned works. It’s not too harsh, but the game is generally challenging.

I can’t imagine playing this in multiplayer with any fun at all. Especially after reading that the standard “successful” playstyle is to kill any other player on sight, instead of teaming up and playing cooperatively. Therefore, I always play singleplayer. I figure I will have the most fun that way.

It’s important to learn the basics of the game before you ever approach the “Yukon” map. The “Yukon” map is incredibly difficult, even on the “Easy” setting. This is mostly due to the same reason I like to play on it: It is a Frozen Winter Wonderland. I love the constant snow. The snow-covered hills. It’s beautiful.

However, the frigid temperatures freeze all water and make infinite water sources hard to find. In a game where your avatar is constantly needing to eat and drink to stay alive, not to mention shelter from the cold, this is all that is needed to make the “Yukon” map a very hard game to play. However, the challenge combined with the beauty are a very attractive combination to me, so I am playing it and enjoying it immensely.

As with all “Unturned” sessions, when I start out, I die often. Very often. However, my goal with this game is not to remain alive. After all, I can easily start over in the same map, and everything is pretty much where I left it. My goal instead is to build up a network of campfires and storage crates. The campfires provide a source of heat in the frigid wasteland, as a kind of shelter from the cold. There are plenty of trees, and campfires burn forever in this game, so it is a wise gameplay maneuver to dot the landscape with campfires. It’s especially helpful to create a line of campfires from one “feature” to the next.

It is absolutely essential to move from map feature to map feature in the Yukon map. That is the only real way to find infinite amounts of water or other hydration. You see, “loot” such as food, drink, tools, and weapons, respawn at map features when you have been far enough away, so running a circuit around the map is an important gameplay mechanic, which allows you to gather supplies. However, you can’t carry an infinite amount of stuff, so it is vital to build a network of storage crates, located at map features. Not only do you want to be able to store mass quantities of extra supplies that are found, but since supply types are defined by location, you will want to store “rare” items in places where they otherwise could not be found.

For instance, at the hunting lodge and police station features, you’ll find powerful weapons. You can build weapons from trees, but they aren’t as powerful, as a rule. Likewise, the hunting lodge and some campsites tend to have chainsaws, which do not rely on any energy or fuel source, and are therefore the most powerful tool and weapon in the game, able to chop down trees rapidly. They also stun zombies faster than the zombies can recover, and generally produce massive damage, making them the perfect zombie-killing machine at close range. Once you have enough chainsaws spread across your storage network, you can start using axes and other cutting implements as scrap for more useful constructions.

Likewise, you’ll want to find food sources, such as restaurants and gas stations, and the always-valuable hunting lodge, to distribute pure water across your storage network. In the meantime, you’ll be able to cook up some good food combinations like sandwiches at campfires. Strangely, you don’t need a frying pan or some other cooking implement. I guess the game just assumes that everybody carries a frying pan with them wherever they go. Actually, that is kind of a good idea for survival. Survivalists, take note: carry a frying pan everywhere.

I’ve started using vehicles more to travel distances across the map. Vehicles provide shelter from the cold, and are able to instantly kill zombies by running them over. That’s always fun. Once you reach the end of the gas tank, it’s also fun to destroy the vehicle. Even when it’s out of gas, it explodes fine. That can be used as a weapon, but is usually just done to get the scrap metal from the aftermath of the detonation. Vehicles respawn, though slowly. So it’s important not to use them all up too quickly. It’s probably a good idea to keep a few dotting the landscape here and there, for emergencies, like needing shelter, or a quick getaway, or mass zombie destruction. Vehicles are incredibly useful. I wish there were vehicle-related missions.

One vital way of obtaining hydration on “Yukon” is to build planters from rope and trees. You’ll find lots and lots of rope, making you wish there were more rope-related “recipies”, such as netting. You can convert rope into fertilizer for some reason. (What are they making rope from???) It is pretty easy to make planks from trees. You’ll need a saw to convert logs to planks. Saws can be created from four scrap metal pieces, with an intermediate step of 2 metal sheets.

Once you build planters, look for food that can be converted into seeds, such as wheat, carrots, and potatoes. It is tempting to eat them all, but you want to start growing a network of planter farms across the map, to keep food growing. Food grows slowly in this cold environment, so you want a large farm network spread over a wide area. This natural food tends to fill up the hydration bar almost as much as the food bar. Therefore, seeds, both found and retrieved from food, will help provide an additional source of hydrating food. If you keep moving from map feature to map feature, and build up your farms and supplies, you’ll never die of thirst in singleplayer mode. In Multiplayer mode, I can’t imagine a scenario where there is enough hydration for multiple players. If two players make circuits far away from each other, they might make it work. However, the standard Unturned Multiplayer rule of hunting other players makes this a less fun map for survival.

“Yukon” is such a beautiful map.