‘Beyond Dead’ Review – Lacks shine, could use some polish

Beyond Dead Pic 01

Editor’s Update: Beyond Dead has updated their control scheme, all new opinions will be noted at the bottom of the review!

SCZ: Beyond Dead pretty much sums up what I like to call a “control fail”. Unlike most iOS games nowadays, it seems that the developers Monster Robot Studios forgot that it’s not easy to get the controls right. While I disliked the game at first, I checked up a few forums to see if there were any planned updates for Beyond Dead. Fortunately, I found a few posts about new controls and iPad support! While they aren’t released, I’m hoping to play this game some more after they update the control scheme.

While this game isn’t too hot due because I had major problems with controlling my character, the gameplay is really quite immersive, and the details in the graphics are simply stunning. On first glance, you’ll definitely notice this Metroid-inspired platformer may be the iOS game you’ve been waiting. There one major drawback (besides the controls): GameSalad. GameSalad restricts most of the possible potential in Beyond Dead due to the GUI based coding. It’s mostly meant for new developers or people who don’t know how to code.

The gameplay is intuitive, taking control of a mercenary, searching for what went wrong on Terraforming Project 1470. If you’ve played Dead Space before, you’ll find the plot to resemble how necromorphs took over the USG Ishimura. Plus, the way you upgrade weapons by collecting energy cells is also related to Dead Space. The game progresses, and you’ll be able to get more sophisticated weapons and extra abilities to combat the living dead. Along with zombies, there are a good variety of enemies, including monsters.

The fighting in the game is slow. When killing enemies, you can jump or shoot. The typical strategy to killing the enemies is a hit-and-run method, shooting then running, then back to shooting. Moving through the game feels like a hassle because many of the platforms are on the edge of your jumping range. The gameplay is broken up into many chunks because of the large loading times between everything, including going from pausing to loading the map.

The game is well polished, other than the control scheme. I found no typos or grammatical errors, or massive frame drops. The game runs decently on my iPod Touch 3G, even though it’s supposedly not supported (referring to the description). There are longer waiting times on the iPod Touch 3G than the 4th Generation. The controls are terrible, making the movement and aiming on the left and firing on the right.

The game is crisp and clear, but it would have fared better if Monster Robot Studios used Corona SDK or Unity 3D. Coming from GameSalad, this game is probably one of the best I’ve seen on the App Store. The plot is interesting and immersive. Just wished there were better controls.

With the new update, there are newer and better controls, using a 4-way directional pad on the left and jumping /shooting buttons on the right. Just using this new control scheme has made the experience way better than what I had when I wrote this review. There’s also a no-button scheme where the controls are made invisible. Simply wonderful.

For more information on Beyond Dead visit their official website. The iOS version can be found at the App Store for the iPhone for $0.99.

[review pros="Great story, cool graphics, inspired by classic platformers" cons="Could use universal support, slow loading times, needs more content" score=60]

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