Dead Space (Mobile) review
Naysayers be damned! Dead Space Mobile manages to prove that iDevice gaming has the potential to offer meaty, more hardcore oriented gaming and at a higher value than other portable devices.
You play as Vandal, a new convert of Unitology sent on a special, covert mission for the Church. Things go to hell as soon as the game begins once you find out that the Church has screwed you, and your guide Tyler, over, as your actions release a Necromorph outbreak in the mines. You are soon contacted by the government and must try to fix the damage you caused in order to stop this outbreak from spreading. Occurring on the mines of Titan, a nearby facility of The Sprawl, and the setting of Dead Space 2, you know how this is going to end. There aren’t any logs to listen to or people to interact with directly, but expect to see some twists and trippy moments in the game.
You control your character as if you were manipulating an in-game analog stick on the left and move the camera by dragging the screen on the right or left. Shooting is handled by tapping the right side of the screen to go into an aiming mode, then by tapping again to shoot. You can switch between secondary modes by tilting your iPhone/iPod/iPad. In aiming mode, you can activate Stasis by tapping an icon on the back of your character. I found that activating Stasis was very difficult to pull off consistently as the game sometimes could not register my taps, but the issue may not be a problem for those who play this on the iPad with its larger screen. While Stasis is somewhat useful in some fights, you learn to play without it. Thankfully, the game gets rid of Med Packs for regenerating health, and while it can sometimes be used as a crutch to lean on, it’s still very much possible to die.
Besides managing your ammo, inventory is not something you have to deal with in this game. Just like in Dead Space, you can upgrade your weapons and suit at Benches and buy better suits and ammo at stores.
Level progression is somewhat boring in this game. You move through tight corridors that can sometimes be indistinguishable, meaning a heavy reliance on your Locator to show you the correct path, and most levels have a Tram sequence, where you must deal with a wave of Necromorphs in a platform-like level. Zero-G moments are almost non-existent for a majority of the game. If you die or decide you’ve had enough, you can rest knowing that your progress won’t disappear in vain thanks to the generous checkpoint system. Some might complain that this makes the game too easy, but this game is on a portable platform and the checkpoint system is designed with this in mind.
Presentation and production values are great, not only for being an App Store game, but also for portable gaming in general. Atmosphere and sound translates well into portable form, but occasionally you get an ugly environment here or there.
On the normal difficulty, this game lasted me approximately five hours. New game+ is available, and since I didn’t even max out my weapons and suit, don’t think there’s nothing to do after your first play through. For the price, you’re getting an amazing game and a great example of what higher production gaming can be for the platform. Oh and achievements are in.
If you want a deeper game on your iDevice, or a fan of the Dead Space franchise, this game is not one to skip.