Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $6.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

If you are familiar with console gaming, then you already know that Electronic Art’s Dead Space franchise is associated with spine tingling fear. Birthed from the bowels of Visceral Studios, the brand came out of nowhere in 2008, delivering one of the true surprise successes of the year. The game went on to sell several million copies, inspire a prequel on the Wii, and now a fully featured console sequel to boot. So can the dark, despair-inducing world of Dead Space translate over to iOS, or should this title have spent a little more time in the airlock?

Instead of jumping back into the heavily armored boots of Isaac from the console games, players are sent on a parallel mission with a new protagonist, only known by his codename: Vandal. The plot acts to bridge the events of Dead Space and its upcoming console sequel, while still delivering all of the spooks and thrills that the series is known for. Believe us, it is staggering to imagine that such a huge experience could be contained within the constraints of the iPhone, but not only does it succeed, it sets a benchmark that could be nigh impossible to match any time soon.

Every element that players have come to expect from this alien collision course is present and accounted for, even taking time to mix the action up between each stage. One moment players will be running for their lives, while others they will be taking the fight on the offensive, with the pace and action of the game constantly keeping them on the edge of their seat. All of enemies that fans either loved or hated from the first game are back again to make life a living hell, so they’ll need to make sure they are using their ammunition carefully.

The name of the game is dismemberment, as the game forces players to pick the opposition apart, limb by limb. This is where the title’s shockingly well constructed control scheme comes in handy. Instead of using dual stick controls, the thumb on the left side of the screen is used to navigate the character throughout the environments and the right stick is used to aim weapons and interact with objects. This combination results in a very precise way to traverse through numerous spine-tingling scenarios.

One thing that can be taken away from Dead Space above everything else is the exceptional sound design. Never has there been a game that has possessed the ability to set a mood, inspire an emotion, and instill all out fear in a manner such as this. It’s as if players are dropped into the best horror film ever constructed, while simultaneously getting the opportunity to play a small role in orchestrating the soundtrack to their own nightmares. These are the kind of landmarks that set the stage for perfection in gaming, further helping to cement the notion that console experiences can be fit in the palm of a hand.

To say that Dead Space is one of the best games that we have seen in 2011 doesn’t do it justice. This is one of the most immersive experiences available on the platform. You owe it to yourself to discover that an iOS game can in fact make you shudder in fear and want to jump out of your skin. It isn’t merely a game, it is an experience that all iOS gamers should partake in.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With the purchase of the iOS game, players will be given the chance to unlock something special in the Dead Space 2 console game.  We don’t know exactly what this special unlock is yet, seeing as how the console game doesn’t hit shelves until the date of this review’s publication, but rest assured it would have to be awesome to warrant a special section at the end of our review!

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