How good is Into the Dead?

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A look at Into the Dead, an endless-runner Android game, with zombies!

Ever since Temple Run paved the way for the endless-running genre, many products have followed suit to varying success. With a simple premise throughout them all: continuous movement through a procedurally-generated infinite world, the trick to hook players is to implement enough features and gimmicks in order for the gameplay to not go stale after the first run. PikPok’s Into the Dead is one game that manage to do just that. Its secret is actually not-so-secret: zombies. Lots and lots of zombies!

Setting

You – the player wakes up from the rubble of a Helicopter crash. Zombies are approaching from all corners. There’s only one thing you can do: stand up, and run like hell (literally).

And with that, the game begins. There’s no long animated sequence, no boring exposition that pretty much everyone doesn’t care. With a simple yet effective intro, you are quickly thrust into the world Into the Dead created without a moment to catch your breath. Its design is simple: there’s a plain where all you got to do is dodge the zombies; a forest which the game begins to pose more of a challenge as you now have to maneuver between those walkers while trying not to hit your face into a tree; and a corn field – one of the tensest map designed for horror games, where obscured view prevents you from recognizing all the undead lurking in-between. As players rack up the miles, so does the horde in number – eventually, the characters will run out of space, slip up and get eaten with excruciating pain.

Game mechanic

Into the Dead uses the generic left-right tapping (or tilting) mechanic to control the character. But as stated at the beginning, it’s all the extra features that elevated the game. The most prominent feature, is that unlike the other endless-runners in which you are alone in the fight against the world, Into the Dead gives you the only companion you would ever need: Guns! (there are, of course, other types of weapons as well). From the moment you pick up your first pistol, the game transforms from a platformer to a FPS-hybrid. Instead of frantically avoid every zombie on your path, now you can pop one in its head and jump over its body to continue the escape. There is a variety of weapons from simple like the pistol with a 12-bullet magazine to the ridiculously overpowered minigun that packs 200-round capable of destroying zombies as easy as mowing lawn.

There are other features beside the armory. Into the Dead offers four different running modes: The Classic, free-for-all mode; the Massacre mode where players become the hunters; Hardcore mode, where the weapons and ammos are limited; and the Flashlight mode which dials the creepiness up to eleven by setting the run at night (total darkness) and substituting all weapons with only a flashlight. There are perks at the beginning of each run, (including a dog for more zombie hunting) and players can choose to complete objectives to increase their total mission ranks. The virtual currency system regulates the purchases of weapons, zombie & dog skins, as well as for selecting perks and bypassing objectives. And for anyone with enough cash, the micro-transactions give them from coins to bonus weapon packs, some of them contain absolutely ridiculous and totally impractical weapon (a drill at the top of a guitar, to name a few).

Overall, Into the Dead is a quality product coming from PikPok. Its attention to detail, polishing gameplay and fun mechanic make it either an enjoyable game or an effective time-killer. Either way, gamers will be satisfied with the experience it provides.

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