In case you hadn’t noticed, zombies are quite popular these days. Need proof? Well, simply search the term “zombie” on the App Store and check out the ridiculous amount of apps and games that crop up. Having said that, Tread of the Dead (Out Now, $0.99) is pretty damn good and constitutes a welcome addition to the hordes of iOS zombie games already available.
Tread of the Dead trots out a well-worn zombie apocalypse storyline, and sees you trying to defeat hordes of the undead in order to reach the evacuation zone. There’s really nothing groundbreaking about the game’s plot, but then again it’s not meant to be a story-driven title.
In Tread of the Dead, your character must toss weapons that he picks from the back of a pickup at incoming hordes of zombies. In order to do this, you have to tilt your device left to right to steer your hurled weapon into the incoming groups of the walking dead. In order to take out multiple enemies at once, some weapons can be detonated or split into multiples by simply tapping the screen. If you’re worried about the sensitivity of the gyroscope controls, the tilting mechanic can be adjusted to your desired comfort level.
There are 5 modes to play through. “Adventure mode” is the main campaign and you have to go through it in order to unlock the other modes — or, of course, you can unlock all modes via an in-app purchase. The problem with this is how bloated each of the chapters is; a whopping 24 parts to each chapter means you’ll be tilting for hours to get through it. And although the game is fun, too much tilting gets tiring and repetitive. There is a boss fight at the end of each chapter that adds some variety to the enemies and they’re quite fun to fight.
Gameplay doesn’t change for the most part and you’ll be looking forward to the end of the chapter because the driving “minigame” that you play in-between chapters is a welcome break from the main game. There are weapon skins to unlock but you’re going to need to put hours into the game in order to do so. Or you can unlock them all by paying for them via the aforementioned IAP. There is Game Center compatibility for those that want awards for their zombie killing efforts.
Visually, the game is very simple and I love that. There’s no need to be flashy here. The simplicity of the visuals matches the the simplicity of the gameplay to perfection. The levels change their looks as you traverse the map but the zombies look the same except for a change of shirt color. The name of the levels and the design of the zombie horde is absolutely genius, though. There are all kinds of pop culture references in the level names that had me laughing out loud. It’s hard not to when one stage is called “Hadouken” and the zombies walk out looking like the famous Street Fighter fireball special attack.
Sound-wise there isn’t anything special on offer here, but there’s also nothing to complain about. The zombies sound like you’d expect them to and the sound of your weapons twirling through the air is spot on. Zombies are cut open with a visceral tearing noise and they explode with the violent explosion noise that you’d expect from a bomb. One very tiny, minor complaint, if you can even call it that, is when your weapon is too close to the edge of the screen it scrapes against the railing or fence which creates an irritating sound.
iFanzine Verdict: Tread of the Dead is yet another zombie game but there’s a lot to love here. The tilt controls are among the best I’ve seen on the iPhone, and the love and passion for everything that inspired this game can be seen in every level. The chapters are long and bloated so it’s a game that should be played in short runs or you might find yourself getting bored of it. Still, there’s still tons of fun to be had here and a substantial amount of content to unlock for the minuscule price.