With Chillingo's Dead Ahead, we found beauty in the tiniest of details. It's an endless runner that challenges you to lay waste to countless zombies while riding a scooter. That by itself is rewarding, but we couldn't help but admire the developers' 2D handiwork. Your character's shirt billows with the wind. Zombies explode in giant red gushes, complete with their heads rolling along the pavement. Get thrown from the vehicle, and the flesh eaters take a moment to snack on your corpse. Hit an abandoned car, and the hood crumples. The game was designed with 16-bit graphics, and it's without question one of the coolest apps we've seen on smartphones and tablets, with exceptional gameplay to boot.
The overall goal is to see how long you can survive, though Dead Ahead contains a welcome amount of depth to go along with its frantic action. You begin with a lowly handgun and the aforementioned scooter, but after earning some gold coins, upgrading to the machine pistol, shotgun and motorcycle makes a lot of sense. Granted, it's a bit of a grind to afford the best items, but the lack of load times and addictive hook of slaughtering zombies makes acquiring this virtual currency less painful.
There's also more to the game than just killing monsters. The acceleration button helps build enough speed to escape your pursuers, and pieces of debris are both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, you can lure zombies into these objects and score quick deaths. Conversely, hitting things slows you down, thus making the character an easy target for bosses and fast-moving creatures.
Thing is, Chillingo balanced things in such a way that the game never feels cheap. More often than not, one mistake costs you a life, and you'll identify the screw-up immediately. Other times, escape is within reach and often occurs, thanks to a ramp or narrowly shooting through a couple of hollowed-out cars, leaving bloodied zombies in your wake.
Unfortunately, there's a price for the game being free, and this comes in the form of random ads that pull you away from the world, though considering how much fun we've had with Dead Ahead, this is a small price to pay.
That said, you'll find plenty to love about this game, from the varied environments and weapons to the Super Nintendo-style visuals and user friendly slide controls. Ads notwithstanding, Dead Ahead ranks right up there with the best the endless running genre has to offer, including Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride.
What's Hot:Sharp-looking 2D graphics filled with detail, bloody endless running gameplay, different weapons and vehicles to buy, simple controls.
What's Not:Annoying ads.