The idea of a survival horror game for Android is so inherently ridiculous that we really should have been howling with laughter all the way through EA’s Dead Space. As it turned out, we were preoccupied letting out little whimpers of fear as we nervously tried to defend ourselves against a bloodthirsty alien onslaught.
Key to any survival title is its atmosphere. If a player fails to get sucked into a game, to believe that there’s something scary about pixelated walls smeared with crimson, then its ‘Game over’ for developers as far as playability goes.
For this reason, if you take only one piece of information out of this Life Of Android’s review let it be as follows: play Dead Space app while wearing headphones. Without a sturdy pair of cans you will miss out on exactly 66.63 per cent of the fun this terrifying download has to offer.
Sure the graphics behind Dead Space are awe-inspiring but it’s the muffled intercom chatter, the bloodcurdling cries of the Necromorphs and the sharp bursts of shrill violin that ensure you’re never at ease when playing this app. Seriously, if this review’s final mark was judged solely on a masterful creation of suspense then Dead Space would be right up there with GTA III at the very top of our app reviews chart.
Sadly, some poor controls badly let Dead Space down when a few fixes would have erased most of the obvious problems. Almost all of this app’s control woes stem from one source, that of conserving your ammo. In the majority of Android adventure apps, we forgive the lack of a lock-on targeting mode because getting a bit trigger happy isn’t a problem.
In Dead Space the closer you get to a Necromorph, the closer you are to meeting your impending doom, so ensuring there’s enough energy left in your plasma cutter is of vital importance. Accordingly, the severe difficulties of using your weaponry with the ‘help’ of a virtual joystick, touchscreen controls to move the camera, touchscreen controls to fire off a round and touchscreen controls to use various action points are too much to handle in situations of immediate danger.
That’s not to mention the ease with which you can lose ammunition by tapping the wrong point of the screen when you only wanted to unlock a closed door infront of you.
If this all weren’t enough, we also had trouble with Dead Space’s camera to the extent that while our insides were being torn out by razor sharp Necromorph pincers, all we could see was a futuresque wall. This was not pleasing.
Despite these considerable flaws, Dead Space still retains its creepy ambience and that’s what saves it from a drastically reduced score. For an app to have us on the edge of our seats is nothing short of remarkable. Mark our words though, those bugbears better be fixed for the sequel or we’ll be sorely disappointed.
The Bottom Line
Impressively varied for a tower defence app.
Version reviewed 1.1.35
Requires Android 2.1 or higher