App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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The first-person shooter genre and iOS has had a tumultuous relationship to say the least. Sure the run-and-gun mentality may not have made a seamless transition to the platform, but over time developers have learned to leverage the advantages of the hardware in their favor. Dead Effect looks to capitalize on this growing trend and bring its own spin to the mobile FPS. The real question is, can killing zombies in space be just as fun as here on earth?
Is there anything more cliché in shooters than the “space marine” archetype? Yet that hasn’t stopped a single team from dipping into this well of ever-drying inspiration. Dead Effect is just following everyone else’s example when plunging the player into the middle of an unexplored vessel, gun in hand, and sets them loose trying to find out what unleashed all hell onboard. The twists and turns commence all most immediately, with a ton of gunfire mixed in for good measure.
As soon as the airlock is sealed it is apparent that something has turned the crew into a collective of brain munchers set on tearing the remaining survivors limb-from-limb. With the help of the most awkward Arnold Schwarzenegger sound-alike in their ear, players fight their way through a generically structured corridor shooter, completing an occasional fetch mission just for the sake of variety. Now if only it wasn’t as predictable as most other games in the genre.
One area where the title stands out are the controls, which are thankfully reconfigurable and re-positionable by the player on the fly. This is extremely helpful when transitioning between iOS devices. However, the same level of thought should have been put into the sound design and environmental textures. The first stage looks fine in retrospect, but when those same textures are used in what seems like every early stage, it is hard not to become tired of the repetitive design structure. Lastly, the game is in desperate need of a checkpoint system of some sort because no one likes an insta-death system that makes them replay an entire stage again.
“Shooty-shooty, bang-bang.” That description pretty much sums up Dead Effect in a concise six syllables. It isn’t anything overly special, but it is a passable first person shooter on a platform already littered with far less fruitful attempts. Those looking to indulge their inner B-movie lover need look no further.