Developer: Ben Falcone
Version Reviewed: 1.0.
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The tricky thing about the survival horror genre is that the term "survival horror" does not really imply any particular kind of gameplay. A game can employ any number of styles and as long as it is "scary" it can still call itself survival horror. On a platform like the iPad, though, where the all-touch interface limits the play styles possible, End Night HD proves this can work out pretty well.
End Night HD plays like a dual-stock shooter, but the combat isn't really the focus. Rather, the point is to survive the onslaught. The player's job is to venture into the infected town to fulfill objectives like gathering research samples. However, they will killed by zombies. This is inevitable. They can try to go on by scavenging for pistol and shotgun ammo, swinging their axe at the hoard and even cleaning their wounds at nearby bathtubs to prevent infection. However, they will die and not just because of the loose touch controls that don't do so well against multiple opponents. From that death though players will gain both knowledge of what to try next time and points used to upgrade their character's accuracy, health and damage. In the main mode, as well as in the unlockable nightmare mode, progress is achieved by making each run more successful than the last. It's quick and addictive like an iPad game should be without sacrificing its terror-filled atmosphere.
Much of that atmosphere comes from the effective presentation. The 3D models may not be the most complex but their designs fit the tone and the camera is pulled back far enough that one does not notice. They just see the impressive and moody, although a bit overly dark, lighting. Zombies are appropriately frightening, sometimes charging in with weapons like broken glass. Unfortunately, chopping or shooting a zombie into bloody chunks is visually adequate but lacks audio impact. Same goes for the music which is creepy but too simple, repetitive, and forgettable.
Instead of demanding long play sessions to engross players in its nightmare world, End Night HD offers moments of terror to be enjoyed whenever the player chooses. It's not Resident Evil or Silent Hill. However, it's still survival horror all the same.