State of Decay

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
State of Decay Game Poster Image
Scary, bloody zombie action game shambles into repetition.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Some missions have you helping other survivors; other missions have you working together to survive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters who help other people will survive longer.

Ease of Play

Simple controls for open-world gameplay veterans.


Players use guns, vehicles, explosives, and both sharp and blunt objects to kill zombies, while zombies will bite, scratch, and rip apart characters. Zombies frequently lose limbs, heads in battle.


"S--t," "f--k" sometimes uttered by characters in dialogue, battle.


Many paid add-ons that include new weapons, characters, story expansions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players take medicine to heal themselves, including prescription pills they’ve taken from a pharmacy.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that State of Decay is a violent, bloody, and scary action game where you have to survive a zombie apocalypse. Armed with knives, guns, and blunt instruments, you have to destroy hundreds of the undead before they eat you or your fellow survivors. The resulting combat is often bloody and gory. The zombies not only attack you en masse but will knock you down and eventually tear you apart. You also, while driving around town, will run across -- and thus over and through -- throngs of zombies, also resulting in their messy dismemberment. Players will take prescription drugs that you've taken from pharmacies or homes, and many characters will say "s--t" or "f--k" at times during battle or dialogue.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChristopher B. September 1, 2016

Potential but a letdown

I would live to rate this high but the game is a polished turf. Great ideas executed by morons. The open world concept is nice and mixed with a little GTA but o... Continue reading
Adult Written byRichardB 3 June 30, 2016

Great Game but lacks

This game would be great for your kid but it could lead to them getting mad at you for not wanting to stop playing it. Plus the learning curve is difficult bec... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byEnglishPenguin May 19, 2017

Oddly emotional zombie game is violent but not as bad as most zombie games.

I have often heard this game compared to the Walking Dead since it focuses a lot on community survival rather then slaughtering zombies. In fact, playing the ga... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byRellish112 July 21, 2015

Great game but is mature for a reason

I spent hours on this game. It is an action packed, adrenaline rushing experience that is very realistic to what one would do during a real zombie apocalypse.... Continue reading

What's it about?

In STATE OF DECAY, you have to survive when a zombie apocalypse destroys society. Not only do you have to scavenge for supplies and weapons, you also have to help your fellow humans survive, often at your own peril. Set in an open word, this third-person action game has you searching nearby structures, looking for anything helpful, while also taking out throngs of the undead with melee weapons, guns, explosives, and even motor vehicles. Just be aware that life is fleeting -- if you die, you stay dead, and you'll have to then play as another character who, creepily, might run into your zombified past self.

Is it any good?

As zombie games go, State of Decay is a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, it has a rich, open world, with plenty of areas to explore. It also has tight controls that make it (relatively) easy to protect yourself from zombies. This comes in handy, since there are a lot of the undead, and your supplies are usually limited. The zombies also won't approach you one at a time but instead will swarm you from multiple directions. (Y'know, like they will when the real zombie apocalypse begins.) State of Decay also is a lengthy and deep game, especially if you get the Year-One Survival Edition on Xbox One or PC, which includes all the weapons, characters, and story expansions they added to the Xbox 360 edition.

What State of Decay lacks is variety or a compelling reason to keep playing. Because you're doing the same thing over and over -- killing zombies, looking for things to kill zombies, running away when you’ve run out of things that will kill zombies -- and often are as outnumbered as you are outgunned, the game loses steam after a while and becomes dull. It also can become frustrating when you find yourself surrounded ... again. It doesn't help that some of the text is so small it’s hard to read some of the instructions and button prompts. But potential players also should know that the malaise actually takes a while to set in, so if you're a zombie fan or like testing yourself against seemingly impossible odds, State of Decay could be a fun apocalyptic time for mature players.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in video games. What difference does it make when the violence is committed against monsters instead of humans? Is violence ever justified?

  • Talk about disaster plans. Do you know what to do if a disaster strikes? Do you know how to get out of the house fast, where to go after you’re out, and what, if anything, to bring with you?

  • Talk about helping other people. Why is it important to help other people?

  • Discuss conservation and avoiding waste. How can you make things last longer? Instead of throwing something out, how can you reuse it or use it to make something new?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate