May 16, 2013
Zombies in games seems to be a fad that’s as unwilling to enter the grave as the re-animated corpses themselves. Still, every now and then you get a title that allows you to forgive this over-saturation. Into the Dead is one of those titles I’m happy to say.
The premise is dead (ha) simple. With no explanation you see that you’ve just scrambled out of the flaming wreckage of a helicopter. A helicopter that’s surrounded by zombies, no less, so you turn around and run.
And that’s the game.
Into the Dead is an endless runner, a game that has no end but merely goads you into running further and further each time by showing you how well your friends are doing.
It looks great. Not in a ‘loads of polygons’ kind of way but in a very stylish manner. The game is practically black and white, with colours being extremely washed out. There’s also some filters applied to the screen that make the whole world look dusty, gloomy and not very welcoming.
Running through an empty field would get pretty dull, no matter how stylish, and it’s lucky that the environment changes regularly enough to keep things not just visually interesting but the locations also affect playing. Cornfields will contain zombies hidden from view and a tree can easily be run into, causing you to stumble into the arms of a zombie.
The running and jumping is automated and this leaves you only having to worry about leaning your character left or right to avoid the zombies in front of you. Into the Dead allows you to choose a number of controller layouts, meaning you’ll either tap on the left or right side of the screen to lean or you can tilt whatever device your playing on. As someone that has to play games in public and hates tilting in the view of others, this was greatly appreciated.
To make getting through zombie-infested fields somewhat easier, there are crates you can run through to get a random weapon that’s inside. The weapons range from chainsaws to grenades and these weapons have their own strengths, weaknesses and range.
The weapons aren’t all available from the get-go, mind. You’ve got to level up which at set milestones unlocks extra content within the game. This is pretty well paced out and you’re never too far away from getting a new weapon. Levelling up will also unlock new modes, but these aren’t much different from the one mode you start with.
The previously mentioned ‘levelling up’ is completed by meeting set targets. These can be ‘kill 5 zombies’ or ‘run 1,000m without killing a zombie’ and are useful to force you into playing in a way you normally wouldn’t. The only issue with them is that they soon fall into the trap of setting ridiculous targets that stop your progress dead. Coins can be used to buy your way out of these missions, but you’ll want to use the coins on perks.
Perks are pretty simple, in fact there’s only (currently) 4 of them. A head start perk, start with a weapon, more ammo and more crates placed are all yours to use if you’ve got the coins.
Into the Dead manages to keep the zombie fad alive and is a great example of the endless runner genre.