Dead Island: Survivors Beginner’s Tips and Tricks Guide

Need some more diamonds in Dead Island: Survivors or want to know the best trap placement strategy? We show you how to get started killing waves of undead in this mobile title!

Need some more diamonds in Dead Island: Survivors or want to know the best trap placement strategy? We show you how to get started killing waves of undead in this mobile title!

We might still be waiting on that long-overdue Dead Island 2 (which developers Deep Silver insist is happening), but if you can’t get enough of this tropical zombie series, a freemium mobile title just landed to tide you over for a while.

The focus for this Android/iOS title has shifted radically away from rigging together a huge array of makeshift weapons to a wave-based tower defense game, with some nods to the franchise’s roots.

Just getting started with the game? We can show you the ropes so you don’t have a horde of zombies making it past your electric fences to eat your brains — and friends! 

Dead Island: Survivors Basic Strategies And Cheats

The core of the game is all about setting up traps and killing zombies in waves, but collect supply missions are a major exception to this basic style. These missions are all about stealth and speed, not having upgraded weapons or placing traps.

Be sure to stay out of zombies’ lines of sight and run away when the exclamation mark appears. Keep in mind that containers become lootable at random while you run around the map in collect supply missions, so keep moving until boxes, barrels, etc. are highlighted as lootable objects.

Random Drops

Dead Island: Survivors also features a slightly different setup than most other tower defense games, using randomized card/creature drops. Rather than selling extra cards for resources, you need multiples of the same card to hit a maximum number and then level up the trap or character using in-game cash or diamonds.

Using Metal

There’s also a second way to improve your traps — by using the metal resource, individual traps can be upgraded at specific locations on each island’s horde map, but this initiates a timer, so you can’t immediately play the wave.

In general, it’s a better idea to upgrade the weapon cards unless you have a lot of time to spare or a lot of diamonds on hand to zip through timers.

Dealing with Zoom

While playing collect supply, survivor rescue, or horde missions, there is a zoom function enabled, but it automatically re-calibrates to the same level after half a second, so it’s not useful at all for gaining a more tactical overview of the camp. It isn’t clear why this function exists, so hopefully it will get fixed in a future patch to actually be useful.

The trap upgrade screen in Dead Island Survivors shows the auto-turret at level 3 Upgrading a turret after getting 6 of the same turret card

How to Place Traps in Dead Island: Survivors 

First up, any of your placed traps don’t hurt you when running around as a hero during a wave, so feel free to stay in the line of fire of turrets and flame throwers!

While the idea is to build around the red arrow icons in a tower defense strategy, zombies will leave the red pathway to chase your hero if you get too close, so you can actually mess up your own defenses by running into the fray for melee combat from the wrong direction.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to follow the same path as the zombies set by your defenses. Just tap and hold to jump over walls and quickly run to another area of the map as the waves get frantic.

After placing them down, most traps are automatic, but some traps must be activated manually and won’t do anything unless you run up and tap them (like the Slicer).

If you’ve run out of resources for direct damage traps like cannons, place some cheap barricades to force the zombie horde toward environmental dangers like turn crank water cannons, boat propellers, and exploding barrels. Most of these free traps reset over time and can be triggered manually several times during a wave.

Likewise, some traps — like the cannon — knock zombies off the red path, so you can use this mechanic to your advantage to push enemies into pit traps, river tiles, and so on.

Using Traps Against Special Zombie Types

Your hero character is for mopping up those shambling undead who make it past the traps, but also for hunting down the special zombie types before they can destroy your electrified fences. Learning the abilities and defenses of each special type is the difference between success and getting eaten for lunch.

Here’s a quick run down of special types you will come across early on, as well as some tactics that will keep you alive when facing them:

  • Exploder: If you don’t have a quick killing blow that will finish this zombie off, flee the area or you will take huge amounts of damage when they die.
  • Floaters: These zombies can deal ungodly damage with acid puke, but they must remain stationary while spewing, leaving them vulnerable from behind or the sides — or to grenades and mines that take time to arm.
  • Resistor: These shielded zombies need to be brought down before they can take serious damage from traps.
  • Nurse Zombie: Finally, the thrasher trap will interrupt this zombie’s healing ability.

Recovering Your Hero’s Health

After facing down the zombies, your hero is going to take damage, which can be recovered by using a limited supply of healing soda cans. These aren’t your only options though — your hero recovers health after being out of combat for a few seconds, so tactical retreat is often a better option unless the horde is already all past your main defenses.

Don’t forget that health cans can also be upgraded just like traps, increasing their healing and lowering their recharge rate.

Zombies attack a hero near a beach full of traps Funneling zombies toward boat propellers for free trap kills!

How to Get Free Diamonds In Dead Island: Survivors

Diamonds are used for speeding up suitcase timers/trap upgrade timers and buying new consumables. These are accrued by completing missions, but there are bonus diamonds available that aren’t actually listed anywhere in the tutorial or main menu screen.

Completing Google Play or iOS achievements nets you extra diamonds, and the achievements keep scaling over time (for instance the achievement to kill 50 zombies with heavy weapons goes up to 500 zombies for a second level of diamond rewards).

These aren’t given automatically, however, and are buried in a hidden menu. To claim rewards after completing an achievement, tap the yellow arrow icon in the upper-left corner of the Island menu (this isn’t available if you are in a local camp map or a mission), then tap the trophy icon in the expanded menu.

These achievements give you extra diamonds (each is listed at its Level 1 value):

  • Mind The Gap: Push 1 zombie into a hole
  • Head Cracker: Stomp 1 knocked down zombie
  • Smash Bro: Kill 50 zombies using a heavy weapon
  • Grenadier: Kill 10 zombies using the molotov cocktail, grenade, or water bombs
  • Perfect Defender: Finish 20 horde missions without losing a single electrical charge
  • Heavy Hitter: Kill 50 zombies using a blunt weapon
  • Planning Ahead: Use the mine or the meat bag 10 times
  • Master Trapper: Kill 10 zombies using the shotgun
  • Zombie Gear Solid: Finish one collection supply mission without being detected by a single zombie
  • A Person Of The People: Find and guide 30 strayed survivors to safety in rescue missions

The achievements screen in Dead Island Survivors Claiming hidden achievement rewards for free diamonds

Those are the basics of what you need to know to survive the zombie hordes! Got any other killer Dead Island: Survivors tips, cheats, or strategies for new players? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author

Ty Arthur

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction and writing about video games. After 25 years of gaming, Ty can firmly say that gaming peaked with Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot for games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. He has previously written for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey covering gaming laptops and peripherals.