Zombies… zombies everywhere. Growing up at the tail end of the video store era, I remember having to deal with youth-restricted viewing stickers and out-of-stock tapes to get my zombie fix. Nowadays, even aside from the endless sea of streaming zombie flicks, it seems like there’s a new Android zombie game every week. This week’s entry is Into the Dead.
Into the Dead is a railed first-person shooter, dropping you into an endlessly sprawling area filled with farmland, forests, and a never-ending supply of the undead. Weaponry includes a shotgun, chainsaw, grenades, mini-guns and more, but ammo is sparse, and pickups aren’t always accessible while rushing through the hordes. The core gameplay simply involves you running headlong through a creepy, misty countryside until you get cornered, but where Into the Dead succeeds is in its atmosphere.
The game wraps up its story in a little movie that plays each time you boot it up – You were in a helicopter, now it’s burning in a field outside of some distant city, and you’re running the other way. And there are zombies everywhere. There’s really very little else going on here, at least in regards to the narrative.
The impressive thing about a simple little Android action title like Into the Dead, is how easy it would’ve been to screw up. The visuals here are beautiful, and the lack of any in-game music is a nice touch. The voice work is top-notch too, and little change-ups to the gameplay, like the disorienting and densely-packed cornfields, help sell the tone a lot better than most zombie games. Likewise, there’s a visceral vibe to your death animation – you’re overtaken, and hear yourself scream, watching little spatters of blood shoot around before you black out. It’s fun.
There are three modes of play – Survival, Massacre, and Hardcore. Only Survival is available at the start, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: “Stay Alive As Long As You Can.” Massacre tracks your zombie kills, but there aren’t any cornfields, so the experience feels a little emptier on the whole. Hardcore is more like Survival, bringing the cornfields back in and letting you pick your weapons ahead of time, but cutting down your ammo and adding way more zombies. Like most Freemium games, you’re given a lot of options to buy stuff with real money, but you can unlock all the weapons and modes for free within a couple of hours.
Despite the lack of the need to buy anything, ads are one of the bigger issues with Into the Dead. Sometimes they’re not so bad, but sometimes they pop up unexpectedly, and hurt the overall presentation. The game also freezes up every now and again, but it just takes a second to get back into it.
Into the Dead is a great little game. It’s pretty addictive, actually, and while some of the smaller presentational elements might be lacking, the package as a whole is pretty well put together. Into the Dead is moody, fun, and perhaps best of all, free.
An accomplished, atmospheric, and violent zombie-FPS that won’t cost you a dime.