Developer: PikPok
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

When the entire world is overrun with flesh-eating corpses, fighting doesn’t seem like the best choice. If the odds are that stacked, it’s much better to run. That’s pretty much the entire premise behind Into the Dead; run, don’t look back, and only fight if it’s absolutely necessary. Dead might be an inevitability in this first-person endless runner, but thankfully so is fun.

After a helicopter crash in the middle of zed territory players are immediately put in control of a lone survivor as he wisely takes to his heels. There are far too many zombies about to take a stand, so instead they’ll be running for their lives. Luckily these are the slow, shambling zombies. A number of control options are available that let players tilt, tap, or drag in order to guide their survivor around obstacles and hopefully out of all those grasping hands. And once weapons are unlocked (and a crate is snatched during a run) tapping the screen is used to attack. Longer runs and the completion of various tasks (i.e. kill X number of zombies in one run, etc) earn coins, which can then be used to unlock new weapons early or to equip special one-time use modifiers such as starting with a weapon equipped.

First thing’s first: Into the Dead is a great-looking game. Even on my old 3GS. The environments are oppressive, the zombies are numerous, and everything is just gloomy enough to make the entire thing feel utterly hopeless. The presentation deserves a special mention as well thanks to little details such as major screen bobbing when jumping over fences or narrowly avoiding a zombie go a long way to creating an absorbing experience. The satisfaction of grabbing a weapon and blasting a few zombies out of the way, and even simply making it farther than the last time are reasons enough to play for hours on end. But then there are the missions and unlockable weapons that make it even harder to stop.

Playing on an older device does have its drawbacks, however. I certainly appreciate the effort in making Into the Dead accessible even on my old 3GS, but it does create some slight performance issues. The framerate dips aren’t enough to ruin the experience, but they do screw with the atmosphere a bit. I’m also curious to see how PikPok addresses future updates as I could see things becoming a bit repetitive over time. But who knows? Perhaps some new zombie types are in the works or something.

I wasn’t expecting Into the Dead to be an endless runner, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to have as much fun with it as I have, but it is and I did. I’d recommend it as an automatic buy regardless, but the fact that it’s free makes it a (I’m sorry but I have to) no-brainer.


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