Dead Space iPhone review

Dead Space iPhone review

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few months, you'll know that Dead Space 2 has been released to rave critical reviews. What you might not know, however, is that its iOS tie-in is one of the finest games on the App Store.

Rather than a ratty reimagining of the survival horror concept, Dead Space iOS presents a fully fledged canonical side story that fills in a chunk of the main plot. Playing as a mysterious Unitarian agent codenamed 'Vandal', you'll engage in a few hours of tense exploration, tight combat and objectives that shape the events of Dead Space 2. Savvy players will also be able to register their copy to gain a bonus power node for use in the console versions, further sweetening the deal.

The action is impressively similar to what you'd expect from the series. Stalking through the dank corridors of The Sprawl, you'll assemble a familiar array of weaponry (including the plasma cutter, ripper and viciously effective plasma saw) and use it to devastating effect against hordes of voracious necromorphs. Saving ammo by intelligently severing enemy limbs and taking advantage of telekinesis is the order of the day. As is soiling your underwear.

Dead Space iPhone review

Invisible virtual thumbsticks provide an intuitive way to control the character and camera, with context-sensitive touch and tilt inputs cropping up from time to time (for example, when sawing the limb off an abhorrent undead monstrosity). Dead Space has always prided itself on being a truly immersive experience, meaning that reloading and triggering RIG effects requires you to jab at the onscreen suit components and ammo counter. Directly interacting with lockers and computers is an especially nifty use of the touchscreen display.

There's no HUD to speak of, which serves to root players firmly in the Sprawl rather than constantly forcing them to suspend disbelief. Unfortunately the bitty control scheme can also become fairly cumbersome and overwhelming in pitched battles, but by and large the interface is more than fit for the task. Considering that the action is able to stand up next to to its console counterparts, Dead Space iOS is an staggering achievement.

Logic dictates that a horror experience simply shouldn't work on an iPhone, but Dead Space 2 surprisingly manages to pull off shock scares and create an tense claustrophobic atmosphere. Stunning graphics are a key part of the effect, exhibiting smooth animations and plenty of ghoulish visual cues. Naturally the terrifying futuristic art design is also spot on.

Dead Space iPhone review

Whilst the visuals are undoubtedly solid, the 3D audio ultimately steals the show. You'll need to wear headphones for the full effect, but coupled with a darkened room and an open mind, Dead Space is genuinely capable of scaring the living daylights out of you.

Seriously, don't waste Dead Space's potential by playing it on the train. Dim the lights, grab some headphones and get ready for one of the best action/adventure apps you'll play this year.

Pros:

  • Full-blooded Dead Space action
  • Excellent visuals and art direction
  • Exceptional sound design

Cons:

  • Controls can become unwieldy
  • Fear factor is subjective
  • Might be too pricey for some

Summary: Dead Space is absolutely astounding. If you own Dead Space 2 or plan to buy into Visceral's latest title, then consider this an essential purchase. If not, go ahead and buy it anyway.

Developer: IronMonkey Studios (in association with Visceral Games)

Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Price: £3.99 - App Store

Dead Space iPhone review

Read more about: iOSApple iPhoneApple iPhone 3GApple iPhone 3GSApple iPhone 4

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3 comments

luke-kirk  Feb. 4, 2011 at 13:53

I’ve not played any of the Dead Space games up to this point so I didnt know what to expect with Dead Space on the iOS device or if i needed to know the story, all i knew was it looked AWESOME!!

The graphics are stunning, dark, moody and on a level that makes you stop and think whether you are playing on a mobile device or not!
The story is well told with amazing audio that makes you look a fool when playing whilst over half is watching eastenders.
You take the role of Vandal, a pseudonym for the mystery character you play, who’s an engineer on a space station. You solitary existence is only interrupted by the aliens or to more precise neromorphs, whose sole purpose it seems is to attack Vandal and make sure that your heart stay stuck in your throat.
While physically Vandal may be on his own the story, your missions are presented to you by various characters through your body suit and these missions come thick and fast. Obviously while you are completing these missions you will spend most of you time slaying the various aliens that jump out at you and the missions are more follow the instructions than puzzles.
The major problem with many similar attempts at these types of games is how to port the complex controls to the touch screen of the iOS device. This is not the case with Dead Space though and it’s control mechanism could become the standard for such games.

There are no virtual buttons in the game, instead the left side of the screen controls movement, walking, running and staffing left and right while the right hand side of the screen controls your look and aim. You are given the chance to work on these through the first few mission but before long they’ll feel as intuitive as any. The only down-side to the controls as that you can sometimes find your fingers are covering large parts of the screen.
The game gets EA’s premium pricing but £3.99 is a small price to pay for a game that will keep offering you more challenges even after you complete the game which took me a little over 5 hours in total game play. There are over 40 achievements to unlock and once you complete the game on Easy or Normal mode you can replay the game again on a Hard level that will really test your skills.
For the ultimate gaming experience you need to purchase Dead Space now, what are you waiting for, go and buy it now, no really, stop reading!

JonLester / MOD  Feb. 4, 2011 at 20:40

I couldn't agree more, luke-kirk. Guys, treat the above post as a erudite second opinion.

luke-kirk  Feb. 4, 2011 at 21:03

Thanks Jon! this site is really taking off!

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