Stuck in a remote, abandoned town, you must lead five survivors with conflicting motivations, fragile relationships and fiery prejudices to safety from the roving undead. A sophisticated engine generates new survivors, towns and content so every adventure is a different experience, and you can use built-in editors to add yourself and...
User reviews: Mostly Positive (197 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 6, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"Because it was made in Australia."

About This Game

Stuck in a remote, abandoned town, you must lead five survivors with conflicting motivations, fragile relationships and fiery prejudices to safety from the roving undead. A sophisticated engine generates new survivors, towns and content so every adventure is a different experience, and you can use built-in editors to add yourself and others to the game.


  • Deal with the volatile relationships of your survivors by strategically assigning them to tasks, siding with them on difficult decisions or seeding rumours about their past
  • The undead aren't the only threat - negotiate, bargain, trade with or fight merciless lynch mobs, zombie hunters and bitten survivors
  • Experience a fresh story each time you play as the procedural engine crafts new survivors, towns and content
  • Built-in editors make it easy to add yourself and your friends to the game. Create your own survival horror story in your hometown
  • Unique diary interface records each action, choice and disaster. Save your heroic story and share it with others

Zafehouse: Diaries is a fresh take on the zombie / survival horror genre. If you're sick of mindless shooters or generic-looking top down affairs that just don't get what the zombie genre is about, this is the game for you.

About Screwfly Studios

We're a two-man developer based in Australia, dedicated to creating deep, innovative strategy games for PC. Zafehouse: Diaries is Screwfly's debut title and the spiritual successor to the highly-regarded Zafehouse.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
    • Processor: Dual-core 1.8GHz or equivalent processor
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 379 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card
Helpful customer reviews
86 of 106 people (81%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
Driving a party of survivors to safety across a zombies infested town? On paper this was a very good game, lack of proper support killed it though. I rooted for the devs while they were on Steam Greenlight as they appeared active all the times, as soon as they got greenlit and got the money though they practically abandoned support and left the game in a sort of unfinished state. They responded to the critics by mentioning they were working on a new, incredible game. They got me once, they won't get me twice.

+ Cool Idea for a game
+ Convincing Audio
+ Customizable
+ Fun, for a hour or so
- Never Properly Supported
- Development Halted
- Certainly Not Worth a Premium Price

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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 7
I want to like this game, I really do. It has a great 'board game' feel to it and it has all the components for a good game. Unfortunately, it breaks down pretty quickly once you start playing.

First off, you can't assign people equipment unless they're moving to a location. I can have the greatest gear in the world, loaded up with a fire axe, motorcycle clothing, and even guns, but my patrolling people will still go outside naked with a pocket knife and then complain about getting mauled. The gear they will use seems to be pretty random too, as survivors just grab whatever they feel like when they need it. Did a zombie break in? Well, let's just shoot it with the irreplaceable crossbow bolts instead of using the silenced pistol with a million rounds of ammo, or the perfectly good fire axe. The will use armor on defense, but only against zombies.

"Who else might attack them", you might wonder. Well, how about your psychopathic survivors? Every. Single. One. Is a psychopath, one bad mood away from murdering someone in cold blood. I don't know if it's a bug or if this game is in KKK central, but murderously racist characters are the most common characters around. There's also a lot of class division, and any and all quarrels are solved by violence. They'll even interrupt important jobs just so that they can wound each other, and then have the gall to be upset when the corpse pile they were supposed to dump came back to life to attack them. And this isn't because they're cooped up too long in one place, they'll start up this garbage the second they're left in the same building. Maybe it's social commentary about what the makers think would happen if you could murder people without police involvement, but given that even the former police officers in this game are cold blooded killers, I really can't say.

With all this hostility to work around, your best bet is to separate your characters into two or three groups. This would work great, if it weren't for the fact that the zombies are psychically drawn to your survivors. If you barricade fast you can fight a losing battle to keep them out, but having to juggle two or three groups will result in stupid injuries (due to refusal to use logical equipment) and inevitable break-ins (since you rarely have two survivors in the same place to watch each other's backs).

With all of these negatives noted however, if you can get a pair or more of survivors in the same place without anyone killing one another, you can actually see some of the potential shine through. There was some serious promise in this game, and if you could assign equipment to people then I would actually recommend this game. Because you can't, you'll get buried underneath the inevitable endless horde of psychic zombies who will wear your stupid naked survivors down until you lose, as you can't really expand or explore when you're having to constantly stay on the defensive. If they ever patch out the insane, murderous survivors so that you could have a proper party together, I'd recommend this game. Since they seem to have abandoned the title though, I'd recommend you play something else. This is definitely not worth $10.

Too long, didn't read: Insane survivors who kill each other at the drop of a hat combined with a lack of an inventory system make this a bust. There's better games out there for $10.
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
10.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
It is a decent game compared to the horde of other zombie games.

I have not won a game yet but eventually I'm sure I will.

Tips I can give.
1. Save frequently. One thing I've also done is moved the Zafehouse Diaries folder in My Documents to Dropbox. Making a NTFS junction from the original location to the dropbox location means I can technically restore back to any point as long as I have been saving frequently.
2. Events can be cruel, hence tip #1. I've found that sometimes an event is unwinnable but if I reload it enough, sometimes the event doesn't happen or can be mitigated.
3. Your survivors will eat way too fast. Searching for more supplies quickly and efficently is a must.
4. Assault a location before trying to breach it. Assaulting lets you kill more zombies than patrolling does.
5. Having more than two safehouses is useless in my opinion. The time required to secure a location is long enough when done quickly and noisily. Going slowly and quietly can take forever. Hence, I tend to secure two locations on opposite sides of the town right away. If I find the zombies getting too thick nearby, I can move.
6. Guns are useless. They just make alot of noise and draw the zombies.
7. Move your survivors as a group. More people during the assault makes it safer, during the breach too. After a successful breach, you'll want one person patrolling (to thin the herd outside attracted by noise), one person watching (to ensure that the zombies breaking in don't surprise the group), and one person searching (for food, medicine and vehicle parts) at a minimum. If you're in a factory, have one person improving gear (defense, breach/assault, searching). There is always jobs that can be done.
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
Zafehouse: Diaries is rare not just for the unusual creation that it is (a mostly-text, indie, turn-based strategy survival simulator set in the zombpocalypse) but also for the fact that it makes generous allowance for the player's imagination to engage and enhance the experience. That imagination factor is a feat which the majority of videogames - in striving for linear, accessible stories and/or impressive visuals & audio - leave little or no room for.

Screwfly Studio's work here is admirable considering it was a startup with only two guys. Their next planned project, Deadnaut is a similar game set in space. If they do carry over and improve upon the mechanics from Zafehouse, I am definitely picking it up. For context, I got Zafehouse on Good Old Games a while back, but over time it's been patched into better shape. My 11 or so hours played as of this writing reflect the time it took me to replay every game mode, grab the achievements for a perfect game and fiddle with the custom content a bit.

Zafehouse has three modes that scale in difficulty from easy to hard:
  1. Ongoing free survival mode
  2. Vehicle repair escape scenario
  3. Helicopter rescue escape scenario

The game randomly generates your survivors and the town map, then you direct them to essential tasks while progressing one hour at a time. The story is as barebones as zombie apocalypse gets but there's decent replayability thanks to the gameplay, at least until such time as you've mastered the mechanics on the standard modes and played out custom scenarios to your satisfaction. Gameplay is a finely tuned balancing act involving staying alive and safe, keeping survivors happy (or at least not at each others' throats) and finding/managing scarce resources while accomplishing objectives within the mission parameters. The relationship system really does add flavor to the experience and I would love to see more along these lines in gaming.

Perhaps it's not so finely tuned as we would like, but as far as I know this game is one of a kind and the formula can only be improved upon over time. I'm willing to overlook some design and balance issues as well as lack of depth & complexity in mechanics. What visual and audio does exist is also limited - serviceable, but not awe inspiring. There are no technical issues or bugs whatsoever and the game is very low resource, which is unsurprising given that it's a small game. What you see in the screenshots on the Steam store page really is what you get.

One thing that I had tons of fun with was the custom content manager which I used to create a group of survivors based on my family & friends. Dropped them into a town with locations based on my own favorite hangouts, and imported pics for all of it. As I said initially, this is a game that encourages the imagination, and that is all the more true when you get to play out the apocalypse scenario with familiar people and places.

I recommend Zafehouse: Diaries if, as in my case, this game immediately caught your eye as something different in the genre and potentially fun. Normally I make no comment about price or promotions, but I would probably pick this up while it's on sale. The biggest red flag to be aware of however is that the game information is provided to you in diary form. The journal provides 90% of the information you need to play the game. I realize that's not for everyone, but for those who aren't revved up at the prospect of reading a wall of text, I will just say by the time you're familiar with the mechanics, you'll be skimming through it very quickly and painlessly. In closing my reviews I usually provide a few tips but I'll keep that light here, since the fun of Zafehouse includes learning and mastering aforementioned mechanics.

TIP: Items can be modified multiple times (e.g. Silenced handgun ---> Silenced scoped handgun).
TIP: Items can be scrapped by left clicking them from the Supplies view, which is useful if you're trying to get a survivor to modify a specific item; just scrap the superfluous inventory.
TIP: Traps do make noise, which attracts zombies to your location.
TIP: Searching a new area once for "anything useful" should be enough to discover mission relevant info/items, if any exist at that location.
TIP: Splitting up survivors instead of keeping them all together is a viable strategy and particularly useful in certain situations, but also comes with higher risk of injuries or deaths from zombie attacks.
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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
14.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
I really want to like the game, but two (in-game) hours and people are already fighting. There is an end game apparently, but ♥♥♥♥ goes downhill at the start and just keeps gaining momentum. Even if you do things right and pick the right people for certain missions, the game just rolls the dice that says "you're dead" on every side of the dice. I spent money on a dying simulator that I don't even get to see. It's very easy to just say, "this person died." when you order them to go out. Spent a lot of time trying to beat this game, trying the best I can to keep the people alive as we get closer and closer to getting out alive, then all of a sudden. "This dude died, this chick gets ♥♥♥♥ed about it and hates everyone. So she's unresponsive and won't work well with anyone, then she dies as well. Now it's harder to do anything with only three people. Now everyone is dead. Good luck next time, sucker."

Also, "They did the best they could. Given they only had a jacket to defend themselves." B*TCH I BROUGHT WEAPONS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WEILDING A F*UCKIN JACKET!?"
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
As the (terrible) name suggests, this is a game about stories.

It's about the moments where you send a survivor on a suicide mission to retrieve some snacks for her starving comrades, or finding that one precious item in an innocuous house, or sending someone to aid a survivor besieged by a zombie horde.

It resembles the browser/mobile classic Rebuild, but offers plenty more options in actions and equipment.

It's punishingly hard, and made rather more frustrating by being somewhat arbitrary, or at least obscure. Having well-equipped and skilled survivors wiped out by a motley group of zombies is bad enough, but having the survivors seriously injuring each other over a dispute over who gets to use the shower first is just annoying.

Still, the great moments are well worth the frustrations.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
11.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 5
I quite like this game, and unlike all the others of the genre, it doesn't make me queasy from the FPP!
Well worth the low price.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
29.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
Zafehouse: Diaries isn't well known for it's moving pictures, but does keep you on your toes with it's survivor management gameplay! In-game, you're typically placed inside a set map filled with typical city buildings of importance; Hospitals, Bars, Houses, Police Stations, ect. You decide where you hold up base, and survive the onslaught of zombie "X"'s on the map. But they aren't the only one's you'll be fighting out there... The game comes in three different modes, an easy mode which gives you one survivor, and no objective. You're able to signal for others to join your cause and live as a small little group for as long as you can. The medium and hard mode add objectives, as well as a time limit that you need to keep track of - among other problems. The biggest key feature in this is that you can add just about anyone you know into the game - slap in a picture and a persona and you're set! All you need to do after that is spend hours creating your own weapons and armor in the creator menu. Good luck my friend! You're going to need it!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
11.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 4
I like this game... but I keep dieing. I like the set up... You never actually see zombies... Its' all in a book... but your decisions affect what happens. Did you decide to go scavenge without sending anyone to check it out first? oops then you did not know how many zombies were in that area.. bad choice! ya... It can get to you after a bit... Like ... oh no! why did I do that! but over all it's a really good game. It's easy to get into it even though not much is visually there.. your immagination takes over for you.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 2
It had lots of potential but, since the devs included super mutant zombies that can destroy even vault doors easly the game went sink.

90% of the time zombies will smell you and start entering your safehouse even if you are quiet, they gonna rush and keep you supressed, barricading and getting it's detroyed at the same time while your food and medicine goes down, as your crew.

Also, it's already finished, which is not good since most of the players really enjoy long-term updatings.

For the price, might be good, your call.

5/10 ( could be 8/10 easy if it weren't for some minor stuffs )
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 7
This game is very buggy. Not worth the 5 bucks i spent on it, maybe 99 cents.
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0 of 3 people (0%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
The Writing Dead

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1 of 6 people (17%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
okay good and bad game this is why
i feel like the some things dont exactly do well gameplay wise i mean to walk down the block and take 3 hours both ways is annoying and also fighting in one hour they only take down like 2 zombies how do they hold out so long when there is a hoard of 20+in the house
good gameplay and good focus though 8/10 recmonned buy
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4 of 46 people (9%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
Sucks ♥♥♥. Granted, I did only get it for a dollar off of humble bundle.
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6.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 7
I really enjoy this game. It's simple in theory, but very hard to execute and survive, as it should be. There's a reason you hardly see anyone around in zombie apocalypses.

The customizable features are Survivors, Occupations (which is where all of the characteristics go into), location photos, and items. The only real problems I see here are the following:
Characters always seem to have a problem with a certain type of people, whether it be race or status, and that itself doesn't seem to be customizable, which is a shame, as it seems to have a big effect on how a character feels towards another.
Ages are 21-65. Sucks when you want to create kids (and have them be pretty much useless of course), or elderly. I faced this problem when creating Walking Dead survivors, where a few are kids, and Hershel is older than 65.

The game itself is interesting. Start with either one survivior, and meet more along the way (perhaps), or start with 5 and try to escape. When personalities battle against eachother, it is largely detrimental to the group's morale and makes it much harder to survive. Every now and then, a randon event will occur, whether it be a group of survivors demanding that your hand over your priest, or a super zombie shows up. Managing the group's resources is challenging, and not gathering new resources will quickly destroy your group.

If a survivior is on watch, they will mention the noise level of the group, and that seems to have a huge effect on whether or not zombies will attack. It's a nice realistic feature, and it appears to work. When my group died and the last survivor was a useless woman who couldn't do a thing right, she still survived for many hours in a futile effort to build awful traps. That is, until I ran out of food and sent her out to scavenge more, followed promptly by her death at the hands of zombies.

It's not perfect, but it's at a state where it's fun, challenging, and time consuming. I've yet to survive, unfortunately.

Two major concerns I see when reading other reviews or posts about this game is about the unrealistic...ness of the personalities and the lack of updates. The personalities aren't perfect, yes, but whoever complains about this seems to think that, in a zombie apocalypse, survivors will immediately band together and work together perfectly, in unison, because of the zombie threat. Definitely sounds like a false premise. As for the updates, they're completely done with the game, but they supplied updates for as long (perhaps even longer) as games normally do, and the product is great as is. If you want a new update, wait for their new game, which pretty much has the same exact premise as this, but in a new scenario.
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4.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
I do really like this game, I really do. It has a cool way of surviving the zombie attack on the world. The fact that you can make you own weapons (in a way) and even buildings and characters, is awesome. I played this game with a friend of mine and she and I made owerselfs and we had alot of fun. But! There is a "but". I wish that this game didn't want to kill you, like at the beginning of the game. When I played it with my friend over 20 times we always had the same problem of, when we wanted to secure a place, the bloody zombies didn't go away even if we made noice in another house or did it in the rain while it was thunfer. No mater what we did (almost all the times, not all) we could not get to fare. I know that zombies and such don't just let us do stuff without attacking but we did all we could to make sure that they could not hear us or see us. I really hope that the people that made this will keep udating it and make DLC's or just add more to the game because it is so much fun. I pay money for this, hell I would almost have paid double the money. I will recommend this game for people that want something different and like zombie games. I will recomend it in general. But if you don't like thinking out of the box or reading, then I will kinda say no because there is alot of reading and thinking that needs to be put on the tabel. You need to read what have happend when you do missions, you need to know your people (characters) and you need to think smart, like what should I do, should I secure my house and then go to the next one or should I get more people first, make them work togheter (make everyone a big happy family <3) and then go secure stuff. There is alot of thinking if you really want to put time and effort into it. And if you feel like it you could roleplay if you feel like it. It was actually kinda fun to do it when I and my friend did it. 6/10 (9/10 if the little problems I said could be somewhat fixed, I don't want it to easy.)
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5.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 20
It's a pretty alright game. It has its own take on the whole zombie survival where you have to scure a safehouse, supplies, people's sanity to survive. Some bugs found made it unplayable causeing horeds to swarm me for no apprent reason. But I havent touched it in some time so it might be fixed. All in all an alright buy. Mabye wait for a sale.
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0.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 18
hello, this game is fun .....very fun i have played very little but the little gameplay is CRAP ton of fun . but the devs have left it to die, last update was in september of last year
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17.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
I wanted to like the game because of its premise but every time I play it I quit from frustration over the myriad of horrible developer decisions that make this game virtually unplayable. First of the game is punishing difficult but that difficulty comes from the horrible inventory system, lack of displayed information and survivor social interactions. Secondly the game is technical mess for example quitting out of the game causes the game to still be active requiring you to restart Steam to play the game. Finally, the game looks like crap. It looks like a board game that was made into a game. Overall, the game is crap. Save your money for much better survivor games like This War of Mine, State of Decay or Don't Starve.
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23 of 27 people (85%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 23
Please ignore the time played here, I played the game on an average of 10 hours back before it came onto Steam.

Zafehouse: Diaries is a rather unique take on the survival/strategy genre. There are 3 different modes with different difficulties, that ultimately have the same goal, survival. Towns, events, items and survivors are all randomly generated. You can customise a survivor with your own story and backgrounds, which will then be randomly generated from a pool.

You interact with a diary that displays all the events that are happening during each hour. When I first played the game I was alittle put off by the fact that you interact with a diary. However as I played I fully understood why the interface is how it is and it is surprisingly informative. You can assign tasks for each survivor that they will try to acomplish to the best of their ability depending if they are any good at it (i.e. scavenging, barricading, cooking, etc.).

The game has quite alot of depth to it and some deep mechanics. A good example is that it might be wise to get one of your survivors to scout that motel a few doors down to see if there's any zombies, so that your group have somewhere nice to rest. Or maybe that hospital crawling with walkers has that bandage you so desperately need.

It also runs pretty well, even on them old toasters that are years old.

I did a mini Let's Play series on it that covered some of the newer updates, you can find the playlist here
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