Zombie-blasting goodness for iOS and Android.
Light gun shooters are such a perfect fit for touchscreens that it's somewhat bizarre we haven't seen more of them for iOS and Android devices. Leave it to Sega to fill the void with The House of the Dead Overkill: The Lost Reels, a gruesome and blood-spattered romp that includes three levels pulled from the game's Wii and PlayStation 3 counterparts. In series' tradition, over-the-top antics, excessive gore and spot-on blasting remain front and center, making this title an ideal pick-up for zombie fans. This aside, it's a shame the publisher wants so much money for a four-year-old game; by App Store standards, of course.
Downloading Overkill means parting with $4.99, which is already higher than a majority of mobile games. That wouldn't necessarily irritate us had the company delivered a full-featured product. Instead, this only buys two episodes, with the third (Naked Terror) costing an additional $1.99. Now consider the thousands of "Kash" required to unlock and then upgrade weapons (along with grabbing life-saving boosts and consumables), and things quickly get expensive. Suffice to say, you might as well go into this experience willing to spend $6.99 at minimum.
In Sega's defense, The House of the Dead: Overkill is a high-quality game. Although it looked rough a month ago, the developers added a necessary layer of polish to bring it up to speed with its console brethren, though to be fair, The Lost Reels looks noticeably superior to the outdated Wii version.
With this in mind, you'll thoroughly enjoy this on-rails first-person shooter, which ferries you through a zombie-infested house and other locations as you frantically blow up undead with a variety of weapons, the lowly pistol and shotgun to start, with the more powerful submachine gun, assault rifle and mini gun within reach, so long as you replay levels multiple times and wrack up combos from successive headshots.
You'll do this using either touch or accelerometer controls to guide the on-screen cursor, though we highly recommend the former, thanks to the non-existent learning curve that makes gooey headshots much easier to achieve. You'll also thank us later on when zombies throw sharp objects, which you can shoot down.
Where the game falters, somewhat, is with the boss fights. You absolutely must upgrade the weapons to come out victorious, and the computer's a bit unfair in this regard, with health meters that remain topped off as you continuously plug these suckers with rounds. It's Sega's way of getting mileage from a title with only three stages, and we can't help but shake our heads.
If anything, we would have preferred more levels for the money. It's obvious the company has every intention of releasing new episodes, most likely for cash. To that end, it wouldn't surprise us if the "full" version of The House of the Dead Overkill winds up costing in excess of $12.99 over the course of the year, barring a price drop. We can only hope the powers-that-be come to their senses and make it cheaper, because in its current form, The Lost Reels is both polished and thrilling. On that note, players with the cash to burn will delight in the carnage.
Review code provided by Sega.
What's Hot:Polished zombie shooting, preferred touch controls, plenty of gore to spare, wealth of items to buy in the shop, over-the-top story, different playable characters.
What's Not:Only two episodes for $4.99, additional episode costs $1.99, somewhat cheap boss fights.