Dead Strike is a horror survival game out for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. The whole game concept and main objective is simple, stay alive for as long as you can and try not to get killed by the zombies. Yup, zombies get involved yet again. Think Left 4 Dead, the game is rather similar in terms of what you actually do in the game. You run from a starting point towards the ending point (the hospital, more on the story of the game later on), killing or avoiding zombies along the way. Once you reach the ending point, the level ends.
You can choose from 4 different characters, each of them with a unique advantage over the others. These 4 survivors (you in other words) are attempting to stop the outbreak of the living dead, zombies. To do so, you have to create an antidote which will help the cause. To do so, they have to deliver a sample of deadly virus to the hospital at the other side of the city. Thus the starting point and the ending point of each level. As you progress through the game, you will find out more about the virus and the storyline of the game. I myself haven’t seen much of the story as of yet (an explanation later on), so I cannot for one decide if it is as intriguing as the developers say it would be. In any case, here is a segment of what the developer’s promises of the storyline.
As the foursome’s grim fight for survival continues, it becomes apparent that there’s more to the virus than anyone thought possible. As the group are systematically hunted by these abominations of nature, they soon discover that these cannibalistic monsters aren’t as mindless as they look.
With all that said, the game objective is simple. As said earlier, you get from point A to point B and the level ends. You are then greeted with a screen that allows you to shop for items such as weapons and healing aids. You then continue with the next level and the game repeats itself as you uncover more of the game’s story. There are a total of 46 levels in the game. You get to choose from 4 characters to play through them. Each has their own capabilities, for example one of them (the police man) deals more damage with his weapons while another has more health. 9 different weapons are available (only when you complete a level do you get to buy a new one) and there are several health aides to help you along each level.
All of that is fine, the game menus presentation are all acceptable. However, there are just two things that make the game a little horrifying in the wrong way. They are the controls and the level designs. Controls of the game make the game frustrating. I’m not joking, for an average casual gamer, I doubt he’ll be able to get pass the first level at all. It is not so the game being difficult that causes the fuss, instead it is the controls. You move with a virtual joypad, up to move forward, left to rotate left and so on. That is totally fine, but the lack of responsiveness is what makes it a little troublesome. The turning and stuff feels stiff and when it comes to aiming the zombies it becomes frustrating. You cannot move and shoot. To shoot, you have to enter the aiming mode. In aiming mode, you get two new buttons, shoot and reload. So you go into aiming mode, you can’t move instead you start moving to aim. It is tough at first, takes some getting used to but even so, it still doesn’t work well enough. There are times when you think you are already aiming the zombie and shooting it but you’ll soon realise you are totally off target. You do at times need to be dead centre on the zombie’s body to shoot them. And the frustration gets even worst when you are starting to get surrounded by hordes of them. You can’t move when shooting, you can’t shoot when moving. Fine we do have games such as resident evil following that concept but the thing is, in Dead Strike to switch between shooting and moving is horrendous. Buttons feel unresponsive and to simply turn and run after switching is no child’s play.
With the controls needing a revamp, the level designs need to get some renovation work as well. The game is way too linear. I don’t know about the later few levels but from the first 2 I’ve played, I didn’t find any difference between the first and the second. They felt and looked exactly the same. You simply work a straight path through the whole level with a minor turn once or twice within the game. The levels are way too straight and thus becoming boring as each you progress through the level. I’m not sure if there are going to be any changes in the levels later on (if anyone did get through so far please do tell me) but from the start to the second level, the levels were boring.
One last minor problem of the game is the price of the weapons. Killing zombies gives you money but it simply does not balance the game well. After the first level, ammo needs to be purchased and you simply won’t have enough money to do so. Thus in the following level, you’ll only survive with that little remainder ammo from your previous level. A little problem for those who managed to get through the first level that is.
With all that said, thank the developers of the cheat function. They provide a cheating option for the player and thus granting you unlimited ammo, money and becoming god yourself. With the cheats, you are able to get through each level with ease and learn more of the storyline. All problems except one mentioned above are solved. God mode allows the frustrating controls to be fine, money and ammo allows you to get weapons and blast the zombies the way you want and of course there is a speed mode that allows you to breeze through the level with quick speed. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the levels are way too linear and boring. To find cheats for the game, Google “dead strike cheats”.
I do want to praise the graphical and sound aspects of the game. The graphics aren’t phenomenal, but are decent. Blood spurting, effects of bullets hitting metal surfaces, zombies looking horrid and so on. I feel that for an iPhone game the 3D graphics of the levels and zombies are worthy to be praised. Other than that, the sound effects are fantastic. Expect to hear eerie voices when you get near zombies, weird noises of the zombies when they chase you and of course the sound of your gun as you gun down the zombies. In my opinion, the sound is the most outstanding aspect of the whole game.
To conclude, I did read up while doing this review that the developers are preparing to release an update for the game to help correct some of the issues I mentioned. They also promise new gameplay options such as multiplayer and stuff in the next few major updates. All these updates are definitely welcomed but for now, if you really want to play a zombie game, Dead Strike isn’t ready yet. For the price of $1.99, I don’t really think it lives up to it due to poor controls and gameplay design. However, if the updates do prove to fulfil whatever they promise, this game is something you might want to get. The game as huge potential, but as of now it isn’t reaching nearly 100% of what it can offer.
p.s version of game reviewed is 1.0. Rating and scores are given for that version only.