Zone extraction games like Escape from Tarkov and Hunt: Showdown are hot at the moment, but the barrier to entry tends to be pretty high – these are difficult games for newcomers to crack. Zero Sievert may be a more approachable ramp, however: created by a solo developer, it’s a single player 2D game that blends Escape from Tarkov with Project Zomboid, the Stalker series, and maybe even a hint of Among Us.
While Zero Sievert is single-player only (for now, at least) and top-down 2D rather than first-person, it hits a lot of the same tense notes that make up the Escape from Tarkov experience. As in Among Us, you can only see things in your character’s cone of vision, so enemies and objects can be concealed behind cover or sneak up from behind you.
There’s also the inventory management and crafting found in Tarkov – you’ll have to consider how much loot you can carry at a time and whether you’ll be able to lug it all to an extraction point without getting clipped by a bandit or mutant hiding in the grass.
Once you’ve extracted from one of the five biomes in Zero Sievert, you’ll head back to your base, located in a repurposed military bunker near the site of a nuclear power plant disaster. Inside, you’ll be able to craft items and upgrade modules, rest, and talk with several NPC quest-givers who will direct you toward more valuable loot (and more dangerous enemies).
Drawing from the Stalker series, you’ll always want to keep an ear open for the sound of your Gieger counter going off – the nuclear accident has rendered many areas intensely radioactive, and you’ll want to put together the right protective gear before venturing too close to those locations. The radiation has had effects on the local wildlife, too – so keep your head on a swivel.
There’s also a fully functional weapon modification system that lets you tinker with firearms to your heart’s content – you can swap out scopes, stocks, foregrips, and more using gear you find and craft out in the zone. Developer Cabo Studio says there are currently 30 unique guns included and 150 different weapon mods.
While Zero Sievert is a bit more approachable than Tarkov or Hunt, it’s still brutal and unforgiving: death comes just as quickly, and it pays to play cautiously. There’s a free demo to try out during the Steam Survival Fest, so you can try your luck out in the zone yourself.