Beware: the undead have returned, and they’re here to DEVELOP YOUR LAND.
Zombie Castaways is a management sim that places you in the shoes of a plucky zombie cast adrift at sea. When our zombie finally lands, all they see is lush greenery, rich minerals, and structures waiting to be rebuilt. With pick, machete, and axe in hand, our protagonist sets to work creating a place that the undead can truly call home. Zombie Castaways is available for download on both the Google Play Store and the App Store.
Zombie Castaways, despite its undead cast, has much more in common with farming games such as Farmville than large-scale management games. However, the tutorial for new players does little other than railroad you into quests and give you free stuff, which might leave you wondering what the heck you’re supposed to be doing. If you’re more than a little lost, our Zombie Castaways guide is here to help you find your footing on these islands and set you on the path to success!
Your First Steps
- Don’t become dependent on Super Swords. Find and build wells to increase your tool income. Claim your free Bangs and use them judiciously.
- The first well on Love Island (the one with copper roofing) is infinite; the rest are not.
- Tap on a building’s hammer icon to see what resources you need to deposit. To upgrade, tap the green hammer and wrench icon on the upper right. Not all buildings are upgradable. You can still use a building’s base form while it’s upgrading.
- You’ll often find ruins in your exploration. Repair them in the same way you build buildings. These are usually unique structures that offer unique items.
From the introductory text on the first island, you might think that finding the love of the zombie’s life is his main goal. But it isn’t – each island has its own theme, and the one constant between them is that you can turn each island into your personal paradise. Here’s the lowdown on what to do alongside the game’s quests.
Resources and Tools
Before you can build an island getaway, you’ll first need to harvest the abundant natural resources on the island. This is where your tools come in.
Each harvestable node in Zombie Castaways requires one of three tools to be harvested – pickaxes for stone and minerals, axes for hardwood trees, and machetes for vegetation. The Super Swords that the game forces you to get at the beginning can serve as any of these three tools, so use them judiciously.
To harvest a node, just tap it, then tap the bubble that appears. This bubble will tell you what tool you need, as well as how many of it you require to completely harvest the resource. Do note that you can partially harvest a node and come back to it later – and you’ll still get resources for doing so.
The last tool on the right is the Bang, a bomb that does 100 tools’ worth of damage to anything caught in its blast radius. Don’t worry as this won’t harm friendly structures. Tap on the Bangs to get a few of them for free.
You’ll notice that even with the initial Super Swords, you’re going to burn through tools fast. That’s where wells come in.
Wells are all-important structures that passively generate tools over time. Do note that wells (and other production buildings) can only hold 3 cycles’ worth of production at once. This means that to get the best mileage out of your wells, it’s best to leave the game running on your phone with you picking up tools over time.
There are three kinds of wells:
- Permanent wells are few and far between. These can be identified via their copper-colored roof tiles. These wells never ever deplete, and charge relatively quickly (around 3 minutes per production cycle).
- Found wells can (usually) be found prebuilt on islands. These ones will produce tools for 100 cycles, turn gold, then renew themselves for another 50 cycles before giving up the ghost. These wells are also quick with a 3-minute production cycle but are finite resources.
- Built wells can be placed anywhere you so long as you have the space, money, and materials for them. On the downside, they have 10 minute-production cycles and only produce 100 times before they collapse.
The more wells you have, the more tools you generate, and the further you can go. And while Love Island comes with a permanent well and two found wells, it’s in your best interest to start setting up some new wells of your own to get that sweet extra income.
As I mentioned earlier, most wells are finite. This means that your tool income will eventually slow down to a trickle if you don’t invest in some well infrastructure.
When you tap on a well, you’ll see not only how long the timer has to run before the next batch of tools is complete, but also how many production cycles it has left. When a well reaches its limit, it will turn gold – tap it to get a bounty of tools and experience – and then it will either renew itself or collapse, based on what kind of well it was.
Don’t get complacent with your starting wells on Love Island. While one is permanent, the other two are not, so it’s a good idea to start a wood, quartz, and T-Bone Berry production line for new wells.
Building And Upgrading Structures
Building structures unlocks options to create bigger and better items and allows you to process more materials. However, the game doesn’t tell you how to build new structures without tapping the question mark buttons.
To build structures, tap on the market button (the one on the lowest right part of the screen), then tap the buildings icon. After this, select a building you’d like to construct, then choose where you want it. Note that placing down buildings this way costs large amounts of gold.
We’re not done. Because the market is full of loopholes, we only have a blueprint of that building. Tap on that building and give it the resources it needs to fully build it. And voila – new building!
There’s more: some buildings can be upgraded. To upgrade a building, tap the green hammer and wrench icon in the upper right. Do note that you can continue to use a building’s base form even while upgrading it.
Repairing and Intermediate Products
While you can plop down structures of your own, you don’t have the blueprints for all the structures in the game – and some of them aren’t buildable at all! In that case, you’ll need to both find and repair the appropriate structure to gain access to those resources.
Repairing structures oftentimes requires intermediate products that are produced by other buildings. To find out where to get a resource, tap the question mark on its upper right.
As a new zombie, it’s in your best interest to get off Love Island as quickly as possible just so you can access the Crypt in the Big Land. You technically can build your own Crypt on Love Island, but you need to be really lucky with getting random intermediate resources to do so.
Getting Off Love Island
To get off Love Island, you’ll need to find and repair the pier on the lower left side of your starting area.
Fortunately, the Super Swords you’re given should be more than enough to cut a way to this location. Do note that you’ll also likely need some boards, so fix up the Gatehouse near where you started so you can process your raw wood into usable materials.
Once that’s done, repair the pier and make your way to the Big Land!
The Big Land
- Put your workers – Cooks, Wood Cutters, and Stone Miners to work as soon as you land.
- Most workers require Brains to work. You have 3 by default and can watch ads to lease a few more. There’s no point in having more workers than your Brain capacity.
- Regularly visit the Crypt to get important resources like metal as well as access crafting recipes you need for Love Island.
- Put a Money Box and decorations down to go treasure hunting. Trade complete treasure sets by tapping on the ellipsis in the bottom right, then the book – this will net you resources.
Once you’ve repaired the pier on Love Island, you can travel freely to and from your available islands. Tap on the pier itself or better yet, tap the map button on the lower left to bring up your world map.
What’s For Dinner?
The Big Land has two important structures prebuilt for you.
The first of these are the two zombies on the left. These are Cooks, culinary cadavers who will be more than happy to take raw organic materials (aka farm-“fresh” produce that you’ve harvested) to make meals – which you can’t eat, but you will need them for some buildings. You can have Cooks create up to 3 items on a queue.
Zombie’s First Crypt
The other building the Big Land has that’s of vital importance is the Crypt. If you’ve explored the build menu, you might have decided to plop one down only to discover that you can’t build it anyway – you lack the resources to do so. Thus, this first Crypt is important because it’s the only accessible Crypt you have at the moment.
The Crypt not only provides recipes for intermediate products but also offers a random prize every 3 hours. Be sure to pop in every so often – you will need these supplies!
It’s Technically Automation
Sure, gathering resources by yourself is well and good. But getting others to work for you is even better. That’s where workers come in.
Workers such as Wood Cutters and Stoneminers will work on nodes in Big Land, harvesting them without further input. They are also the only way to harvest resources in Big Land, as you’ll be unable to touch those resource nodes yourself. Do be wary that just like wells, these guys can only have three items in their queue at once, so make sure you go back and claim those items.
But! These things aren’t free. You’ll need to pay your workers in Brains.
Brains are the game’s way of ensuring that you don’t break it by deploying an army of workers. Before a worker can get to work at all, you’ll need to ensure that you have the brains to activate them. By default, you have three brains to activate three one-brain workers. I said one-brain, because some worker stations, like the cooks, require two brains to get anything done at all.
The Brain system also means that it’s pointless to build more worker stations than you have brain capacity for. Fortunately, it’s easy to get extra brains: you can watch an ad to rent one brain for three hours, and you can also pay Z-bucks for more brains on a longer lease.
It’s not just resource-gathering or crafting workers that you can hire. You can get others, such as the Brigade, to help with tedious tasks such as farming. Other workers, such as Brainy Cooks or other brainy types come with their own brains so you can use your rental ones for other tasks.
Unlocking More Resource Nodes
You’ll notice that the back and top parts of the Big Land have rarer, more valuable resources.
Unfortunately, they aren’t free. You’ll need to pay to gain access to them. Don’t worry about these for now; when the time comes to buy them, just tap on the fenced-off area behind the Big Land.
The Treasure Market
One last thing before we leave Big Land: treasure hunting.
Treasure hunting is a lot less tedious than it sounds. All you need to do is place a Money Box building, which will give you access to your golden shovels. Tap on the Money Box, then tap on structures or resource nodes to look for treasure. This also means that yes, putting more decorations does technically give you a better chance of finding good treasure.
Do note that you can also find treasure when clearing out islands; in particular, look out for weird containers that stand out such as barrels or chests – if they ask you to watch an ad to open them, you know you’re on the right track.
There’s little we can do with all this treasure, but that’s where the game’s exchange system comes in. Each treasure belongs to a collection; complete this collection (5 pieces) and you’ll be able to trade them away for something nice and usable. To trade treasures, tap on the ellipsis button in the lower right, then select the book icon on the right side of the center panel.
Building Your Own Island Getaway
- Farming is the most reliable way to make money. Not all crops are equal when it comes to money generation, refer to this Facebook post for a breakdown.
- You can drag the hoe, plant, or harvest icon over multiple plots to queue actions.
- Visit the Zombie Castaways Facebook page to join contests and giveaways.
- Once you’ve mastered these basics, continue the journey by unlocking the Secret Island on the upper right-hand side of Love Island.
By now, you should have the basics. What’s next?
Farming For Fun and Profit – But Mostly Profit
Making money, that’s what. You may not have noticed since you have a lot of gold at the start, but buildings are hilariously expensive. And while you can sell anything you get, it’s always a good idea to only sell anything you’re sure you can part with. That means that you’ll mostly be selling crops.
While you have the freedom to plant whatever you want (so long as you have the space to support more garden plots), some crops are better than others when it comes to gold generation. Some simple math can be used to break down the crops available to you on Love Island; thankfully, you won’t need to do the calculations yourself as you can view the table here. To sell items, tap on the ellipsis on the left side, then tap the bag, and finally tap the item you want to sell.
There’s also a shortcut the game doesn’t teach you. When hoeing the ground, planting crops, or harvesting plants, you can just drag the icon around instead of tapping each plot individually.
If ever you need more garden plots, you can make more by tapping the four arrows button on the lower right, then selecting the garden plot with a plus.
Finally, you can get a free 3-day Brigade; the offer occasionally appears when planting or if you tap the Brigade button when buying workers. These farmhands come in a group of four and can plant, sow, and harvest when commanded.
Visit The Zombie Castaways Facebook Page
If you’re not fond of using social media, link your Zombie Castaways account to Facebook anyway. The Zombie Castaways developers are fairly active and do a lot of giveaways and contests on the game’s page, so you always have a chance to get free stuff. And even if you don’t win anything, you get 10 Z-bucks just for linking.
To The Next Island!
Once all your stuff is set and ready to go, you might want to look into unlocking the Secret Island.
In that case, head up the coast from the Big Land pier and fix that other pier to gain access to new lands!
An Undead Paradise
With these tips, you’ll be ready to explore and develop the rest of the islands in no time. What awaits our dashing, daring, deathless entrepreneur? Becoming a farm tycoon? A fabled treasure hunter? Or does he just want a humble, homely dwelling by the sea? Only you can tell.
That concludes our beginner’s guide to Zombie Castaways, and I hope I was able to give you some guidance on where to go and what to do. If you have any tips of your own or have something to share, feel free to drop us a line in the comment area!