Techland started development on Dead Island in 2005, but the zombie-themed first-person action-RPG hybrid didn’t shamble onto shelves until 2011. Three years later, publisher Deep Silver has finally deigned to grace the App Store with a Mac port, but it’s no surprise that the game’s design, writing, and structure feel a bit dated.
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.
Tell us if you've heard this one before. In Dead Effect, you assume the role of an elite soldier aboard a spaceship, where an infection has turned everyone into zombies. Odds are, this setup is not unlike one you've seen numerous times before, and unfortunately it's not just the story that proves so familiar. The weapons, setting, music, and enemies are all equally uninspired, and the gunplay is too weak to compensate. As a result, Dead Effect is a thoroughly run-of-the-mill first-person shooter.
World War Z for iOS may not feature Brad Pitt or focus on specific events in the upcoming film adaptation of the bestselling novel, but it does create the ideal environment for drawing you into the apocalyptic world envisioned by author Max Brooks. Unlike most movie tie-ins, World War Z is more than interactive propaganda, and will please both fans eagerly awaiting the film and gamers looking for a solid mobile action shooter.
On consoles, The House of the Dead: Overkill took one of the most well-trodden premises imaginable – shooting zombies in first-person, on rails – and used it to create one of the most memorably over-the-top games of all time. Taking tropes from grindhouse horror movies and cranking them to ridiculous levels, HotD:O was gruesome, hectic, and – as its characters awkwardly shoehorned f-bombs into nearly every sentence – so deliberately crass that it was impossible to see it as anything other than a comedy. The iOS version, subtitled The Lost Reels, scales all that back considerably.
With the exception of flesh-eating undead and the truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife, our apps today are all about utility. So put on your to-do list: how to escape having your brain eaten, how to stay in shape to escape shambling hordes of zombies, and how to get your Mr. Darcy to finally pop the question. Then get tapping at the App Store.
The world has been forever changed by a zombie outbreak, and your only means of escape has crashed in the middle of a field crawling with the undead. As the zombies close in, there’s just one course of action available: sprint toward a radio antenna on the distant horizon, the sound of your own labored breath echoing in your ears, and do your best to dodge the flesh-eaters as they stumble out of the fog and rise up from the tall grass. Your predicament is hopeless; eventually they’ll catch you, and the last thing you’ll hear is your own screams. The only real question, as Into the Dead demonstrates, is how far you can get before that happens.
When the world has gone to hell, scavenging bullets and supplies is the only thing left to do in the fight to stay alive against an endless mob of mindless, flesh-eating atrocities that roam the decimated streets. The Walking Dead: Assault delivers a stylish action-focused take on survival in the zombie apocalypse that pays homage to the original comics, all while cooking up something a little different than what we've seen from other series tie-ins.
Sometimes, a video game's narrative, mechanics, and platform complement each other in such a seemingly perfect way. While Telltale's Walking Dead: The Game is far from the first adventure game to shine on iOS devices – the same developer has other titles on the App Store, in fact – few have emerged as splendidly. The Walking Dead is emotionally charged, wonderfully paced, and a fine example of why the adventure genre is such a concise fit for the iOS hardware.
Still haven't made the transition from MobileMe to iCloud? The June 30 deadline has come and gone, but like zombies in a classic horror film, the service continues to hang around, at least "for a limited time."