I love zombies. I mean I really love them- the concept, the movies (most of them, at least), the TV shows (huzzah for Walking Dead on iTunes- the HD downloads are a godsend for cable cutters!), the implied social commentary, and of course the GAMES. When I want to fire up Steam for some non-casual gaming nothing else is as enjoyable as Valve’s Left 4 Dead franchise. Even iOS plays a role for me, thanks to some App Store heavy hitters like Plants Versus Zombies (still marked down to FREE as of the writing of this post!) and the previously reviewed Into the Dead (also listed as free in the iTunes App Store). While that’s a whole lot of undead goodness, eventually even I need something new to keep my attention.
Thanks to Randy O’Connor I’ve had just that via Dead End HD. The game is a good blend of the familiar and the innovative starring everyone’s animated corpses. The idea is a common one in zombie games- survival of your beleaguered character Harold facing waves of zombies. The controls are both simple and vexing: your character runs in the direction he faces, only stopping when you change his direction via right or left buttons at the bottom corners of the screen. You fire your weapon while turning, allowing you to spray destruction around you but leaving you vulnerable to the ever-denser hordes that creep up . When coupled with the top-down view of the game it creates a Smash TV-like feel (for those of you that can remember that far back). Power ups are picked up from the field of play; the weapons range from simple pistols to heavier fare like machine guns and flame throwers (with additional weapons unlocked by achievement). To make matters more difficult, as you progress the playing field is cluttered by obstacles like lamp posts and benches that your character bounces off of. For those skilled and/or brave enough, you can switch to a single button control.
The game is an excellent casual-style time waster. The gameplay is very engaging, accentuated by some perfectly rendered cartoonish graphics, music, and sound effects reminiscent of another favorite: Zombies Ate My Neighbors. The waves of zombies quickly become challenging, but never so much so that the game loses its charm. While Dead End HD is compatible with any iOS device, I enjoyed the game on the iPad more thanks to the additional screen real estate.
Dead End HD is Game Center compatible for those of you that like to run some high-score smack talk with your friends. It is available now via the iTunes App Store for $1.99.