Com2uS is a mobile games publisher widely known around the Google Play Store for offering freemium titles like Slice It! or Homerun Battle 3D. They’ve been doing this Android thang since the G1 days and it doesn’t look like they’ve lost any momentum, offering more than 48 titles in the Google Play Store, all of which can be downloaded free of charge (aside from a few paid Japanese variants). I had a chance to check out one of their latest, Dead City, giving the zombie shoot ‘em up a spin on my HTC DROID DNA and was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Gameplay and Visuals
Honestly, I have to say I wasn’t expecting much. I played enough “freemium” games to know how this would play out. A game with difficulty so jarring, you’d be forced to shell out real money for items and upgrades via in-app purchases just to continue playing. But that’s just it — Dead City doesn’t play like that at all. First, we should talk about how the the game does play. Dead City is like a cross between Age of Zombies and Temple Run. It sounds crazy but somehow, it all just works. I love mashups. I think it’s great when a game developer can look at what’s popular amongst the kids these days and rather than offer another clone, mash everything together to create something entirely new and fresh. Like Mexican/Chinese fusion (trust me, it works).
Dead City sounds easy enough. Your character runs through a stage (that’s where the Temple Run reference comes in) and you control your character via twin analogs, picking up items and blasting enemies long enough to make it to safety. In Dead City, a stage constitute as a day, and levels are weeks.
There are a variety of items to pick up while running through a stage. Things like health packs which are crucial for staying alive and fuel packs that can give the player temporary invincibility, plowing through enemies in a mini van or various other automobiles. There are also environmental hazards littered throughout levels like landmines, and barrels that can be used to wipe out waves of zombies with a single blast.
Enemies are supplied sparingly and offer a good variety with male and female zombies, dogs, and even larger Abobo-like zombies requiring more fire power to subdue. Head-shots will earn you 50% more gold, so players will find themselves rewarded if they’re really good shots. Once you earn an A rank in a stage, a zombie thief will appear and when killed, will give you a chance to gain item bonuses at the end of the level via a slot machine mini game. This harkens back to the day of Golden Axe where you’d beat the snot out of those little elves that would still your goods in the middle of the night. Good times.
I guess the hardest part of Dead City is merely staying alive. Easy at first, Dead City’s difficulty gets increasingly tough in the later “weeks.” When you do die (and you WILL die — a lot), you have the choice of either starting the level over again and losing 80% of accumulated gold (I know, it stings), or using a defibrillator item to continue the level where you left off. Keep in mind, defibrillator are only gained by either killing a zombie thief (and winning one by chance in the slot machine), or purchasing a pack of 10 defibrillators using real world money ($3).
Once a level is completed, you have a chance to spend your accumulated gold on upgrading the game’s 40 different weapons and armor (which can then be upgraded up to 20 times each), or upgrading your invincibility vehicle (up to 10 times). Of course, there is always the option of purchasing bundles of gold with real money, which are offered in a variety of pricing options. For those that really want to splurge, there are even special weapons like the flamethrower or lazer gun that can be purchased for — wait for it — $10 each. Yeah, but… no.
Graphics in Dead City are awesome and might be one of the reasons I enjoyed playing the game so much. Sure they’re only “2D,” but they’re bright and clean, popping off the screen in gorgeous 1080p HD. There are enough variations in zombies to keep things fresh and upgrading your main character actually changes his look in-game as well. It’s little touches like this that keep an otherwise mindless shoot ‘em up from getting stale.
Without hesitation, Dead City is an instant download for anyone looking to blast some zombies in their free time. Sure it’s freemium, but it’s freemium done right. The developers of the game even added a handy backup/restore option to save the game data to your phone’s internal storage, making it easy to transfer your progress to a new device (major points for this, Com2uS). Again, Dead City is free, it’s fun, it’s action packed, so what are you waiting for? Download Dead City right now from the Google Play Store and see for yourself.