Zombie Cure Lab Preview

Zombie Cure Lab by developer Thera Byte Gmbh and publisher Aerosoft GmbhPC (Steam) preview written by Hayden with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

When you’re ready to face the hordes but you want to trade “grim and gory” for “cute and cheery”, it’s time to open up your very own Zombie Cure Lab. From bumbling humans to bumbling zombies and half-way in between “humbies” (also bumbling), Zombie Cure Lab will toss some very interesting takes on zombie-human relations your way. From weaponry that looks it belongs on a frozen schoolyard to research equipment that looks straight out of old Saturday morning cartoons, this game has a unique charm and style that will thaw the most frozen hearts as it launches into Early Access this holiday season.

That wasn't a sweet enough intro to make you skip reading the rest of this to run out and get it already? How about this then - this is a game that isn't just about being fun for the player, it is also designed to support efforts to make real cures, for real diseases. That's right, this is a game that rewards you not for making microtransactions in their store, but for offering spare computing cycles to help solve real-world problems. Check out the developer's site (linked up top in that first weird sentence under the banner) for all the details, since they explain it way better than I would.

Still here? All right then, here's the rest of the normal stuff.

The premise

Zombie Cure Lab is straightforward about what it wants you to do: build a lab that finds (and applies) a cure for zombies. Your staff at the outset is all human, with basic human needs like food and shelter that must be met so they can do their work. Oh, and protection against the hordes of zombies that run amok at night. Can’t forget about the zombies, right?

Are you ready for the horde?

Over time, you’ll perform research that will allow you to attempt to partially cure zombies - there’s no one-and-done cure here. Each partial cure you apply to a zombie progressing them slowly through life as a “humbie” (human-zombie hybrid), with each successive stage allowing them to relearn more human-like behavior. Even the most basic humbies are useful though, and can be employed (carefully) to aid your lab. The closer to zombie they are, the stronger they are, and the more useful they are at manual labor like harvesting. Conversely, the closer to human they are, the more strength they lose but the more dexterous and intelligent the tasks they can be assigned.

The horde

There are a number of visually different varieties of zombies in the hordes that attack your base, with different equipment. The question you need to answer, however, is how are you going to subdue them long enough to apply a cure to a ravenous zombie without it attacking your staff?

The usual suspects: zombie cleaner, zombie angler, zombie....mountie? Zombie Grandma??

The answer is simple: you’re going to freeze them.

Snowball launchers, cold blasts and more will bring the joys of winter combat from the schoolyard to your screen as you pelt your attackers with flash-frozen snow until they become icy popsicles, safe to approach until they melt in the daytime sun - and start moving again! These zombies aren’t the slow shamblers by the way, they’re just as fast on their feet as your researchers, so keep a well-repaired wall between them and your staff!

Base Building

A staple of the “survive the zombie horde” genre of games is base building, and Zombie Cure Lab is no exception. Using a building interface that reminded me of a very slimmed-down Sims style, you’ll be dragging out room blueprints and filling them with custom layouts to serve your needs. Kitchens let you grow lab-cultured meat to serve your still-hungry humbies, while the basic bedroom layout can feature a couch with a cardboard box to remind you of the good old days when there were still TV broadcasts to watch.

The aptly named “science room” covers all sorts of high-tech uses beyond that of a basic research lab - this is where you’ll administer treatments to zombies or run automated equipment like fertilizer mixers. For now, just the three room classifications exist with all the equipment either fitting into one of those categories or being free to place as you see fit outside. All of these are placed as blueprints, with materials delivered to complete them from the prebuilt main stockpile you get at the start of every map.

There's just a few things to build as it launches into Early Access. Just a few.

What you get in Early Access

Zombie Cure Lab is very up-front with its roadmap, displaying it as a loading screen at the start of each game session in the version we had access to review. It makes clear that the developers goal going into their Early Access launch was to have the basic platform of the game, but that there are many more things to come. The short answer to the question of “what do I get?” is this: a functional, fun game that probably has several dozen hours worth of gameplay for any one playthrough right now, but not a lot of bells and whistles.

Notable items that readers may have seen me harp on during other reviews like production / consumption reports, the ability to prevent your people from going dangerous places / doing silly things, difficulty customization, etc. are not here yet at the Early Access launch date. They are acknowledged as needed, planned and present on the game’s roadmap however, which fills me with enough hope that I might just last through seemingly every company’s (completely understandable) pause on new content as their staff take vacations. (I think there’s a reason all the holiday events seem to launch earlier every year, and its probably not to compete for shelf space at Woolworth’s any more.)

Interestingly, I found myself very conflicted as I was writing that last part. As a dedicated city builder, colony-simmer, strategy gamer, what-have-you, I love data and reports and seeing information that tells me how my team is doing. I also love the idea of having some fairly strong levers I can use to influence behaviors.


This time, however, I’m not so sure.

Zombie Cure Lab has really grown on me in its current, simple, streamlined state. A few production reports might be nice but the goofy, cartoonish feel of the art makes me not want to have lots of detailed control. If the developers here can keep the game’s decision-making robust enough, Zombie Cure Lab might actually be one of the rare titles that ends up stronger without giving the player all those numbers and levers and buttons. I guess I’m just going to have to keep my fingers crossed and wait to see how this all plays out.


Zombie Cure Labs launched into Early Access yesterday on December 7 as a streamlined survive-the-horde zombie basebuilder. Bright, deliberately cartoonish art and a lack of deeply nested menus make this entry feel like a fun, light, approachable game that is far harder to put down than pick up. An extensive roadmap promises to bring many of the info views and behavior control tools that colony sim players like, while expanding on the game’s replayability.

Zombie Cure Lab is a game worth spending some time with over the holidays, with a visual style that is screen-safe even when the youngest of relatives comes toddling up to your battlestation.

Score: N/A



Post a Comment

Random posts

Our Streamers

Susan "Jagtress" N.

S.M. Carrière

Louis aka Esefine



JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada

JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada
Light, Medium and Dark Roast Coffee available.

Blog Archive