App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Being stranded in the middle of the ocean on a derelict vessel, surrounded by carnivorous monsters, low on supplies and so on sounds like one heck of a bad situation. And that's exactly the kind of situation 3rd Officer Carl Miller finds himself in after accidentally getting locked in the bowels of the ship for a few days. Probably has something to do with whatever it was they salvaged from that old U-Boat. It's admittedly not a bad setup. Thing is, the game one has to play through in order to see this story reach its conclusion is pretty rough. Okay, it's very rough.
Tide of the Dead is essentially an iOS light-gun shooter. It's the sort of game which has players tapping at the screen to dispatch enemies and grab ammo or health. In this particular instance the action is comprised of tapping to expel ammunition from one of five different firearms, or swiping to slash away with a machete. Most of the zombies stagger along from a fair distance so it's not that tough to pull off a head shot, but keeping a look out for the chubby ones that pop out of the corners (and can only be killed with the machete) kept me on my toes. Kinda.
As with most iOS shooters of this sort, Tide of the Dead feels at home on my iPhone. The action doesn't let up for very long (in the rare instance that it actually does in the first place) and there are a decent amount of weapons to make use of. That's unfortunately about all I've got.
The problem with Tide of the Dead is mostly that it's very, very rough. Backgrounds are static. Enemies are completely flat and have some rather unimpressive animations. Everything has that early 90's amateur CGI look to it. Bloody bullet holes that appear when blasting zombies appear on the screen as opposed to the walking corpse itself, often leaving a gaping wound that floats in the air by itself for a moment before disappearing. The controls are a bit more refined than the presentation, but swiping with that machete is a pain. Half the time it doesn't register, and the other half there's a slight delay. I've yet to be able to take down one of those flatulent corner-zombies without getting hit, simply because of the lag between swipes.
For all its failings, Tide of the Dead isn't really a bad game. It's just a very unpolished one. There are definitely more refined offerings on the App Store, but to my knowledge none of them involve zombies on a boat. Besides, it's only a dollar. Not too much of a financial hit for someone desperate for some arcade light-gun action on the go, right?