Expedition Zero review

by on March 28, 2022
Reviewed On
Release Date

March 24, 2022


Wandering around the freezing wilds of Serbia with the constant threat of monsters and zombies on the prowl isn’t fun. Why would it be? I’d much rather be on a beach in the Caribbean or riding Space Mountain. Unfortunately, Expedition Zero tasks you with roaming a creepy forest in search of the secrets behind a failed research mission instead of soaking in the rays of a glorious sun. I was impressed by how Enigmatic Machines keeps things relatively simple, but not so much with the hindrances that held me back from really enjoying myself.

Expedition Zero: Lost in the woods

After a huge wall is constructed around an anomaly zone, you’re tasked with finding out what went wrong with a research expedition. With only a handful of tools at your disposal, you must explore different locations for new blueprints to craft items to help with your survival as well as uncover what went wrong to cause the expedition team to turn into zombies. Resources can be found in abandoned cabinets, old machinery, and chests that are everywhere. By breaking down equipment, everything you can craft boils down to three main components: polymer, metal, and electrocomponents.

There’re various locations throughout Expedition Zero that house 3D printers. Each printer has a blueprint connected to it that can help you stay alive. One such blueprint improves your suit’s heating so there’s less of a chance you’ll freeze to death. Unfortunately, blueprints can’t be used at every printer. It’s not a massive issue because there is a way to travel between zones. Also, there’re plenty of resources scattered around, and you can use your sled’s storage to transport parts across the anomaly zone.

Survival of the fittest

There’re some great elements to the gameplay that strip the survival mechanics down into a few parts. Too many games are a laborious slog between staying warm and eating food every five seconds or else you’ll drop dead. While you do have to keep warm, Expedition Zero gives you plenty of options to do so. You don’t need to eat food or drink water to survive. Being in a forest for most of your time means there’s a lot of wood to find. Using it in nearby stoves or fires will keep you warm and allow you to venture back out once the fire has burned out.

Certain buildings or tents have a bed where you can rest. In doing so, your sled will be transported to you. It’s a basic hub that lets you store items inside, recharge your suit, or fast travel to another location. Battery stations are found next to most 3D printers as well, so keeping your gear charged isn’t much of an issue. The real challenge comes when you decide to step away from these relatively safe places and explore deeper into the forests. Do you go a little deeper at the risk of encountering something deadly, or do you stay on a safer path at the risk of missing out on something important.

Expedition Zero: Uncover the mysteries

The main aim of Expedition Zero is to find samples using your scanner. When you get closer to a research sample, your scanner will pinpoint its location in metres. Sometimes, though, the terrors within the forest will be close by. The zombies can often be taken out with your crowbar, but it’s the other, more dangerous enemy that will cause you the most issues. Hiding among the trees high up are creatures that can kill you in an instant. Not only do they attack you from up high, they can release poisonous gas that’ll wipe out your health. You can use health pills to replenish, but it’s hard to do when you’re being relentlessly pursued.

These creatures are a big pain in the ass. You can use your bolt-action rifle to try and shoot them, but they’ll only disappear for a while. You can run, but again, they’ll follow you through the woods and cause you a ton of problems. It’s a shame they are so relentless as it makes Expedition Zero feel unfair at times. They become more of a hindrance, and that initial fear factor wears off in favour of annoyance. It feels as though you aren’t meant to kill them, but to simply survive long enough. They become more present the further you progress, and due to their hectic and varied attack patterns, they are a constant frustration.

Kill or be killed, over and over again

Despite these annoying creatures, Expedition Zero is rather enjoyable. Thanks to the survival-lite elements, I was able to explore some weird and wonderful places. There’s an abandoned church, a dilapidated nursery, and other areas that offer an uneasy feeling deep in your stomach. The suit upgrades do help a lot, and thanks to the amount of resources scattered around, it doesn’t take a lifetime to acquire them. There’s little in the way of exposition, but various letters and documents provide a bit of background into the weird experiments that have been going on.

Expedition Zero is a decent survival game, with enough mystery to keep you persevering through the woods and collecting the samples. The monsters in the trees are more than annoying, and never feeling good enough to fend them off takes away a fair amount of enjoyment from what is a relatively smart game. It has plenty of scary moments, and the various locations help to build the tense atmosphere, but it’s a shame the difficulty of fighting off the monsters takes you out of the tension.


Stripped back survival elements
Good spread of resources
Interesting environments


Monsters are difficult to kill
Unfair at times

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Expedition Zero offers a stripped back survival experience with a tense atmosphere, but the monsters in the trees will hinder your enjoyment.