Brings a Whole New Level of Fright to Running Games
When your helicopter crashes for whatever reason and you find yourself in the middle of nowhere surrounded by thousands of the undead, you run. Yep, no questions asked, no looking back, and most definitely, no stopping. Into the Dead brings you straight into the action –no fuss, no shenanigans, just sheer unadulterated running-for-your-life excitement. You get to pick up weapons along the way, so you could bring down a few zombies as you do your run. But make no mistake, these zombies will close in on you, and the only question this game asks is: how far can you go?
The Scary Kind of Beautiful
Normally, we would not discuss the graphics of the game on such a spotlighted note –gameplay always matters more. But as much as we love the gameplay of Into the Dead, the graphics practically blow us away. What makes this game so visually impressive is not the amount of detail that it has –but in the way it presents itself. The graphics are a simple mix and match of good textures, well animated polygons, and plenty of well placed lighting effects. The end result is a perpetual unending foggy field full of zombies, the perfect place to get frightened out of one’s wits.
There are three general areas, a grassy field, a corn field, and a forest –these three locations seem to loop onto each other, but each variation of the last is slightly randomized –most particularly with the forests, the trees are never really in the same place (though some tree sets are placed in slightly familiar patterns). The corn fields are the most dangerous, as we experienced being caught by surprise by zombies left and right (hope you have a submachine gun when you enter one). The grassy field is easy to navigate, as visibility is at its highest.
There are a wide variety of zombies (but yes, they all want to eat you just the same), and we appreciate the fact that when seeing entire masses of them, it does not feel so much like the developers simply copy-pasted a single model over and over. Zombies have unique clothes, gender, hairstyles, and body types (the game also allows you to download new zombie skins as well).
Lastly, while you cannot see your own character, you do get to see plenty of good weapons. The game is played in a first person view so you get to see your character’s hands when shooting, aiming, and reloading various weapons. Each weapon has been rendered amazingly well.
What is not to love about the graphics? The shadows are well balanced, the zombies are super creepy, and the weapon animation makes you really feel like you are a dangerous force to be reckoned with (until you run out of ammo that is).
Release Date: 06/12/2012
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows
How the Game Plays
The game starts you off waking up from a helicopter crash. There are zombies left and right, so your character starts running off to a certain direction. This is where you gain control of the game.
There are three basic control types: tilt for movement and tap is used for firing, the other is a touch setup with a left and right panel for movement and center tap for firing. Lastly, the last control is the thumb stick plus firing option. In our observations, the thumb stick is the easiest one to use.
The game will have you run non-stop. And it is up to the player to steer the character left and right to avoid zombies. If you get lucky long enough, you will find large chests on the floor with bright white flares –these are indicators for weapon pickups. Go over one and you get to automatically equip a weapon (be careful though, it will also auto replace whatever weapon you currently have). Along the way, you may also notice a few glowing tombstones –these marks your deaths. And if you died while having a weapon equipped, you can pick up the weapon you let go of at these makeshift tombs (it will have the same amount of ammo as when you died).
The game also presents players with side objectives –which is something for you to do while playing. Objectives range from reaching distances, killing certain enemies with specific guns, running for a certain length without getting hit, and so forth. You can accomplish objectives in any mode too. These objectives come in sets of three and for every few sets you accomplish new weapon possibilities are included in weapon crates. Sadly, crates provide random weapons so you cannot choose which one you get (there is a way to somehow limit the randomization, but it takes a bit of conscientious effort). If a certain objective is proving too bothersome, you can choose to just spend a bit of gold to have it auto-accomplished.
Missions and More
There are currently two available gameplay modes: classic and massacre. In classic mode, the game counts the distance you have travelled before you meet an untimely end. The further you get in classic mode, the more gold you get to earn. In massacre mode, the game will count the number of zombie kills you made –this means you will not just focus on surviving, but also by making as many zombie kills as fast as possible. The game’s difficulty scales with the distance you have travelled, increasing the number of zombies you encounter with every few meters you get. In massacre, this means that there is a pressure to make as many kills as you can get early on in the game when maneuvering for a good shot (and conserving ammunition) is easier.
To make things easier for players, Into the Dead also provides several passive bonuses that can be purchased for a small amount prior to making a run. There are currently four available bonuses. From the looks of things, the developers intend to add on a fifth passive bonus and a third game mode later on.
There are currently four passive abilities, to use one, simply purchase it prior to starting a game. Each bonus costs 100 gold and will only work for one run (try not to die early as it will cost you). Basically, the idea is that you earn more than the gold you put in –so it is wise to use them when you are fulfilling certain mission objectives as the reward will easily cancel out the cost. Also, try to avoid using bonuses that will not be helpful to your mission (armed start naturally stops you from accomplishing any mission that requires you to not obtain any weapons, and it is equally pointless to get ammo boost and more crates when accomplishing said task).
Armed Start – starts your character off with a random weapon. The weapon is chosen from your available list in the armory. This is nice if you want to get a head start on killing, but it is not necessarily the most beneficial. We would recommend getting this only if you are sure that your run will make a good profit to earn back the cost.
Head Start – places your character safely past the first 1500 meters. This is a great way to finish certain objectives (getting past 1000-1500 meters without getting hit, killing a zombie, getting a weapon, etc.). But otherwise, do not use this as it prevents you from earning easy kills in the initial part of the game.
Ammo Boost – increases all weapon’s clip sizes to 150% (it also applies to the grenade and chainsaw). The only catch is that this is not useful with weak weapons, so use this only if you already have access to good guns.
More Crates – this is definitely the single most useful passive bonus of them all as it increases the number of crates you will find. Crates provide weapons and weapons help you survive longer. There is really not much downside to this ability –unless you are the type who will blindly chase after every single crate no matter how risky it gets.
One thing we have to remind players about Pik Pok’s great game like Into the Dead is the fact that it is unbelievably free to play. You can play and acquire everything there is to have in the game without dropping a single dime. With that said, we really encourage players to buy at least one gold pack to show support for developers who make games as good as this. You get full choice over the type of controls you make, the graphics are wicked cool, the audio is absolutely creep-tastic (those distant undead groans will send chills down your spine), and the gameplay is addictively fun. It also has a relatively small installation size so it is also a space saver. For being such an impressive zombie themed title and for potentially reinventing the running-genre of the touch screen mobile platform market, Into the Dead is more than just a recommended game, it is definitely a must-have. We give this game a crash landed survivor’s 91/100.
Into The Dead is developed by PikPok.