App of the Day: Dead City
Zombies, eh? Fancy shooting even more of them? Come on, you must have a few more zombie deaths in you? Just one or two? Just one or two hundred thousand?
Hoped so. If that's the case, you're pretty much set for the next few years, in which video games show no signs of losing their interest in the undead. Brainless cannibals! So simple to program, so pleasingly guilt-free to riddle with buckshot. They're the ultimate horde, the ultimate mob. They're the ultimate bad guy - well, along with Nazis, I guess.
Dead City will let you kill zombies. It will let you kill zombies by the tens and the thousands and the hundred thousands, actually. And while the whole thing's as hollow as a twelve gauge being triggered with nothing in the chamber, it's hard to get too upset about it.
After sports games, pirate games and even a wizard game or two Com2Us's latest move - hopefully their next move is getting a new company name - is to turn to our shambling brethren in green. The end result is this decent twin-stick shooter in which missions are divided up into days, and each day is pretty much the same: head out there, blast away at anything that moves, and level up when you get back home again.
There isn't much to it, really: every level sees you racing along with a mob to the left and another to the right, and passing distractions like landmines and metal drums filled with various status effects for you to trigger if you can pull off a shot at just the right moment. There are plenty of different zombie types - regulars, heavies, dogs, nasty clawed things, and even bosses - and there are health packs to pick up when things get bad, and oil cans you can collect to call in a vehicle, which you can then drive to the end of the level. Thumpety-thumpety-thump.
What's great about it? The atmosphere is great, actually. It's simple stuff, but it has that wonderfully nasty grimy feeling of the old arcades - the horror comics and true life detective mags vibe you got from something like Narc or Smash TV. It's not edifying, and it's not trying to be. Your character's a grim-faced meathead, practically everything else you see is out to get you, and the entire planet's apparently reeling from a nuclear war anyway. Have a better one, as they say in Blade Runner.
What's not so great about it? Levelling makes for a real grind, and the equipment screens are filled with prompts towards a real-money store, too. Don't sweat it. Go for the free version of Dead City and just plug away in your quiet hours: while the whole thing's rather fiercely monetised, the developers are smart enough to ensure that the game remains entirely playable without piling in any cash at all. You might want to chuck the team a pound or two if you're really enjoying yourself, mind.
Dead City, then: mean streets, filled with your favourite flavour of cannon fodder. Get out there and have fun. Just don't spend too much time thinking about what you're really plugging away at, I guess.
App of the Day highlights interesting games we're playing on the Android, iPad, iPhone and Windows Phone 7 mobile platforms, including post-release updates. If you want to see a particular app featured, drop us a line or suggest it in the comments.