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Depending on your perspective, free-to-play games might either be the best or worst thing to happen to the mobile platform – but whatever your take, it's hard to deny that the approach comes with notable compromises. Dead Trigger 2 is a fairly engrossing first-person shooter with a lot to offer in regards to comfortable controls and enjoyable blood-spattered gameplay, but you'll quickly find yourself sitting around doing nothing in order to avoid throwing money into the works.
Initially, Dead Trigger 2 manages to keep appearances up. The controls are a rather perfect example of how the FPS genre can actually work on iOS, offering a scheme where your machine gun or head-busting wrench automatically shoots or swings at zombies. Of course, you can switch to a standard "hold to shoot" setup — or even better, use a compatible controller — but the auto-shoot functionality really works well, reducing the game down to its best experience: slaughtering the undead.
After each mission, which sees your character traipsing across the globe to fight the zombie horde, you'll return to a hideout to spend in-game cash on upgrades. At first, the hideout is pretty great — five allies will sell you better equipment, explosives, and even buffs to your stats. But it's within these upgrades where Dead Trigger 2 starts to lose its shine. A scientist in your group needs to be upgraded, for example, so your other compatriots can be upgraded… so they can in turn upgrade their abilities, and you can then upgrade your equipment. Yes, that's a lot of upgrades. And each one of those upgrades requires progressively longer waiting times; the Level 3 scientist requires six real-world hours to upgrade.
Of course, you can skip the wait with some gold coins, which are only attainable via in-app purchase or by completing offers like signing up for auto insurance quotes. Gross. And frankly, the gold scheme is a real downer. Dead Trigger 2 has some great shooter action, but at some point you're put in a position where merely completing the game means waiting around for hours or paying $10 to buy gold coins.
The bottom line. Every fantastic thing about Dead Trigger 2 is offset with an overriding push towards greedy in-app purchases and/or obnoxious special offers.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later
Great visuals. Addictive side quests to upgrade inventory. Plenty of depth.
Horrible, aggravating in-app purchase scheme. Bizarre boss fights.