Dead Trigger Is a graphically-gorgeous, console-quality, post-apocalyptic, zombie-focused, first person shooter for mobile devices. Madfinger games, who look to focus solely on creating high-quality games for mobile devices, including third person shooters, a sword focused samurai game, and some other fun diversions, have developed an experience that truly proves mobile gaming can offer something to hardcore gamers.
Dead Trigger’s FPS controls use a virtual thumbstick to the left for movement, and handles aiming by moving your right thumb up, down, left, or right pretty much anywhere on the screen that doesn’t have a button. On the right is a little icon for shooting, and above that available items such as bandages, mines, and laser cutting devices can be used by touching on them. Believe it or not, it works incredibly well. I very rarely felt as if the controls were to blame for my failures, though fact that you have to stop aiming to fire, can be bothersome. Controls and aiming can be inverted, and if you’re a lefty you can move the aiming controls to the left, and the virtual thumb stick to the right. Outside of the actual gameplay, there’s a map that functions as a hub, allowing you purchase weapons, upgrades, and select missions.
Dead Trigger’s missions are all fairly terrifying and absolutely georgous to behold (The Unity Engine brings incredible graphical capability to the table). Running out of ammo & health on a particularly grueling mission, and hoping to make that one last run for cargo before being eaten is suitably heart pounding, and is the kind of expierence I think almost all gamers look for in their zombie games. Missions come in several varieties. There’s the typical ‘make it to the end of the map’ style levels, others that require you to find a specific item or items and return them to a drop off point, and others have you attempting to survive for a set amount of time against an endless onslaught of the undead.
Missions never seem to take over 10 minutes, thus if you’re playing the game on a car ride or on a break at work, you’ll never have to stop or quit a mission because you’ve run out of time. The important thing is that, even in, ha ha, bite sized morsels Dead Trigger truly feels like a zombie game. Ammo is somewhat scarce. The game oozes a post-apocolyptic war zone atmosphere. The undead shuffle toward you en masse, relentlessly, until you put them down with a led lullabye to the skull. For horror fans this is the unholy trinity of survival horror, made fun sized. An added treat is the interstitial text-based story bits that have you come across interesting characters that could be ripped straight from the B-movies of old, right down to the buff black guy with a cigar who’s missing his whiskey.
Dead Trigger is *sometimes* a bit on the repetitive side since some maps are re-used. And *sometimes* a second hit to a zombie won’t register because they’re still completing a previous “hit” animation, and, of course, being a mobile game, there are of course options to buy more money, more XP, and more “Gold” (Which is the premium currency used to buy the best guns) for real cash, which can *sometimes* be annoying but I largely ignored these issues and still had a blast.
Since Dead Trigger is trying for a console level experience, would it be as successful on a home console or on a dedicated gaming device like the VITA or 3DS? I don’t know. Dead Trigger succeeds on the mobile platform because it’s an excellent console-style gaming experience. However, it’s not as if this experience *needs* the capabilities of a mobile device to flourish. This game isn’t the iPad’s Wii Bowling, in that it’s the killer app you can *only* experience properly on an ipad or mobile device (to be fair that’s probably Angry Birds). Though, the fact remains that a distinct amount of joy comes from seeing these graphics, and this gameplay working *this* well on mobile platforms.
Consoles and mobile devices aside, Dead Trigger is simply excellent on all levels. It’s currently an absolutely disgusting .99 cents in the app store, and is not to be missed.