Have you ever wanted to see exactly how long you would survive tackling an undead assault from a rooftop with nothing more than a scoped rifle and a steady aim at your disposal? Would you prefer it even more so if it was not your life specifically that you were seeking to protect, but rather instead the lives of everyone else living in the surrounding area? If you answered yes to both of these questions, and furthermore prefer that your games be absolutely unforgiving, then you might be interested in Bombhead’s recent 3D zombie blasting iOS offering: Dead on Sight (out now, $1.99).
The game keeps the controls simple with the player dragging a single finger around to control where their unlikely hero – Irwin – is presently looking, whether or not he’s currently focusing on his scope. Tapping the screen simultaneously with two fingers will flip whether or not the hero is setting his sights down the scope of his rifle, and while scoped the pinch command can be used to zoom both in and out. Firing itself is activated via tapping a bullet icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen, with the damage being done being determined by the exact location in which a zombie gets shot.
Your objective on each level – all of which are preceded by a comic panel story sequence – is to take out all of the shambling horrors before the survivors present are eaten, with the victims being converted into still more undead needing to be put down. The ideal method for sending the undead back to their graves is a single shot to head, bullets to anywhere else on their body will – while slowing them down – do nothing to slake their unholy hunger. Outside of trying to take out zombies as quickly as they appear, and especially before they can break into a house where survivors are hiding, there isn’t exactly much strategy to Dead on Sight.
While the game’s impressive 3D Graphics ran flawlessly on the iPod Touch 4 that I tested the app with, I am ultimately left with the impression that the developers over at Bombhead only meant for iPad owners to be playing Dead on Sight. The only way you can quickly reach a target is to move over to its location in unscoped view mode, but on my tiny iDevice screen that meant I wasn’t able to tell zombies apart from humans until after I was zooming in with my scope. I furthermore constantly ran into issues where it felt as if the game was assuming I would be moving my finger across a far larger surface than my iPod Touch 4 permitted, and was never able to aim and/or zoom with any great deal of accuracy.
This inability to precisely aim, or determine which targets I should be gunning for next, certainly did nothing to help with Dead on Sight’s brutally unforgiving singular difficulty setting. Where as most other iOS titles – should you fail – will permit you to retry the stage you just reached, this game will respond to any failure by my immediately deleting your save file and sending you all way the back to the first level. Further complicating matters is that the villagers will often run about pell-mell the second they spot a zombie, rather than immediately heading to a temporary safe house, often ending with them running straight into your bullets.
However – despite all these issues – I still enjoyed the game, especially the blood geysers that erupt forth whenever you successfully pull off a headshot, and therefore I sincerely hope that Bombhead chooses to release an update in the near future that will address how Dead on Sight’s controls interact with smaller screened devices.
iFanzine Verdicts: Visually speaking, Bombhead’s Dead on Sight is an amazing looking 3D title – complete with stylish comic pages to further the plot between levels – that manages to impressively run on a large number of low end devices. That said, the controls currently feel as though they were only truly tested on devices which much larger screens – such as the iPad – and those on iPhones/iPods will have a hard time aiming and/or spotting their enemies when zoomed out. Those who don’t have larger iDevices should consider themselves cautioned against tackling Dead on Sight, especially in light of the game’s extremely brutal difficulty, at least unless future updates tweak the controls.