Why Into the Dead is One of the Best Zombie Runners
Pik Pok's first person runner is a laundry list of all things that are overused on mobile app titles: running game mechanics, zombie themed, grinding, and yes, in-app purchases. And yet despite all these normally mundane elements being brought together, Into the Dead is an exquisitely well done app. This is because of one thing and one thing alone: execution. This game is nothing short of polished, fun, and addictive - three very important elements that we all want to see on a mobile game (or any game for that matter). The combination of the game's play mechanics and the visuals is so cohesive that one cannot exist without the other.
What is Into the Dead?
Into the Dead is a first person running game set in a zombie-themed world. As a running game, the goal is pretty simple: get as far as you can before you inevitably run into a zombie and have to start from the beginning. Each run will earn you coins which you can use for perks that will help you make longer runs to earn even more coins. It all sounds simple and easy enough, and it is and that is why polishing the gameplay is so clear-cut for the developers. Aside from just running from zombies, players can also pick up weapons to help bring down the undead and of course, the perks will help you escape from really bad situations. The extra hardcore and killing mode (where you are scored on the number of kills instead of distance reached) adds even more replay value to the game.
The controls are simple: the character automatically runs forward so the player only has to control the left and right directions. There is also a trigger for firing/using your currently equipped weapon. Continue Reading
Release Date: 06/12/2012
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows
That Tower in the Distance
The reason why we love Into the Dead so much is in the visual style of the game. Since it makes full use of 3D graphics, it also has a clever application of fog in order to drop the draw distance of objects and allow for lesser-detailed zombies to still look menacing. But more than just serving as a way to tone down on the graphic demands of the game for mobile platforms, the fog also makes everything super dramatic. Planning your route through a horde of zombies is certainly hard when there's a huge wall of fog blocking everything beyond the first 20 or so meters that you can see (not to mention all the environmental obstacles such as trees and fences).
The fog also makes everything feel darker and bleaker the fact that there is no actual way to escape the zombies indefinitely gives the game an unmistakable sense of dread that eventually overcomes the fear when you first pick up the game. It allows the graphics to be minimal aside from the short forests that you run through, cornfields with hidden undead, and those rows of farmhouses with broken fences, there is also a tower in the distance. You never actually reach the tower, ever. It pretty much stays equidistant to the player at any given time. It makes the feel of the game a little less about getting a happy ending and more about doing the best you can before all hope is lost. That feeling of surrender to an inevitable doom is often attempted by various zombie-themed titles, but few actually pull it off as nicely as this one.
More Addictive then Depressing
It is not all sad things however, as the game is actually plenty exciting when you let it. The fun mostly comes from gaining weapons to use. While there is a perk that allows you to start a run armed, weapons are normally gained by picking up dropped weapon caches. These supply boxes manage to stand out in a fog thanks to the bright flare they are attached to, though expect that going for one will likely give you an encounter with even more zombies.
There are a variety of guns in the game - as well as exotic weapons such a grenades and a chainsaw. Alll players need to do is get a bit of practice with each one in order to use them properly and effectively. Randomly shooting out all your bullets whenever a zombie appears onscreen is a waste of resources, it pays to be careful and selective on when you can truly benefit from firing a shot or just dodging to the side.
Don't Forget to Update
One of the newest additions to the game was the inclusion of new perks like the one where you can get a doggie companion who will automatically attack one random zombie in your way. The one you can get from grinding a bit is a pretty handsome canine, though its attack behavior is a little more passive than what others may like (you will need to buy new premium dog options for other types).
The Verdict: Zombies Done Right
Hands down, the game-over screen on this game has to be one of the most bone-chilling clips ever the zombie that managed to stop your run with grab you, push you down, then proceed to chewing you to death. It's a very grisly scene done entirely in first person making it all the more frightening. But it is not a jump-scare visual, it happens at a normal pace not too drawn out to be overly dramatic, but not too fast to be a cheap gag. It happens, and it will happen at the end of every run. It is a creeptastic kind of fear and we love it.
We discussed some features and enhancements that we would like to see in Into the Dead 2. You may want to check it out
Into The Dead is developed by PikPok.