Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
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BeyondDead, while not always as intuitive as some gamers might prefer, is a rich gaming experience that does reasonably well at bringing the much lauded "Metroid-vania" style of adventure game to the iOS. These types of game are generally characterized by sprawling maze-like maps, upgradable player abilities and weapons, and puzzle elements all focused on a balance between combat and exploration. Unfortunately, such games have largely been missing from the iOS platform for various reasons and it's refreshing to have an ambitious developer give it a go despite the difficulty of fitting such a complex game on the platform.
BeyondDead chronicles the adventures of Tank, a heavily armored space marine type, who is sent on a mission to discover the fate of an asteroid mining facility that has suffered a catastrophic accident. On his adventures he'll have to fight through reanimated facility staff zombies and other abominations in search of the truth. As they play, players will upgrade Tanks weapons and abilities in order to reach more remote and hidden parts of the game's map and to defeat more formidable enemies. True to the "Metroid-vania" game style, Tank will also encounter large boss fights periodically throughout the game.
The environments in BeyondDead are moody and successfully evoke an eerie loneliness, even if some portions are a bit simplistic in their execution. The game's story is also intriguing; when it unfolds. To the game's detriment however, much of the story is buried in text heavy exposition between Tank and his companion, Vera. Sometimes these will only be initiated if the player activates their comm system, and otherwise could be missed. The game's controls also make it difficult to really enjoy the game. Hang ups from inadvertent falls, bumps, and shifts in direction can make navigating the large map as well as combat very cumbersome at times, and in a game where the player will traverse the map several times over and fight lots of enemies, that is no small issue.
While it can be clunky at times, BeyondDead is an ambitious title and is fairly well executed. Players that are willing to work through some frustration with navigation they will find a game rich in mysteries and gameplay. The sheer audacity this game shows by aiming to bring such an experience to an iPhone should certainly be awarded with some well earned interest from iOS gamers looking for something new.