In a world where zombies run amok, the most sane thing to do is to get into your car and mow them down – right? Well, at least it’s definitely the most fun thing to do, if Dead End is any indication.
There are many things that this new game by Flying Oak gets right: it’s free, it’s cross-platform and it’s a blood-soaked zombie-themed drive ’em up. Available for Android, iOS and Windows phone, this is a must for any fan or foe of the undead – and who doesn’t love great zombie games?
Get Your Motor Running
Dead End puts you behind the wheel of a robust four-wheeler with one objective in mind: kill every single zombie you see on the road. Well, that’s not the only objective, of course, but you get the idea.
Over the course of the game, you will be given the opportunity upgrade your car using cash you earn for each zombie kill. You can improve tyres, steering, shield, wipers and buy additional power-ups like nitro and slow-mo.
Art style is one of the most important aspects of video game design, and Flying Oak has nailed it here. The developers describe the art style as “atypical monochromatic graphics” which are meant to evoke a sense of the ’70s. If that sounds a bit complicated, here’s the simpler version: think grindhouse horror movies and liquid crystal displays. It’s an old-school charm that will draw you in.
The soundtrack that complements the horror is a cacophony of distorted guitars and a cymbal-smashing drummer, punctuated by squealing tyres and the splat of a zombie hitting your windshield. Needless to say it isn’t the best sound design in the world and I got tired of it pretty quickly, switching to mute and playing my own music in the background.
Head Out On The Highway
Once you hit the road, it’s a fast-paced affair where reaction time is what counts the most. Tap the left or right of the screen to turn in that direction, and run over any zombie on the road while avoiding obstacles like oil spills, spike strips and overturned cars. In a way, it’s an endless runner game, but instead of jumping and collecting coins, you are swerving and bashing zombies.
Every zombie you kill will splatter blood on your screen. Getting many of them in a row turns your screen red and you won’t be able to see. Swipe from left to right and your wiper is activated to get rid of the blood. As you progress, you’ll need to upgrade this wiper to deal with larger deposits of zombie.
Eventually other cars appear on the road and choppers try to take you out from above. You will need to manoeuvre your way past all these, till your car can no longer take damage. Then it’s back to the garage to spend your cash on upgraded parts, before trying to beat your previous high score again.
At such times, it’s handy to have some power-ups at your disposal. The nitrous boost (swipe up to activate) speeds up your car and makes it temporarily immune to all the obstacles on the road or from above. The slow-mo mode (swipe down to activate) slows everything down so you can easily drive past anything.
Play For Free, Unlock For A Buck
The fun times are limited in Dead End as after your first upgrade of every part, you will need to shell out a buck to unlock the full game. This lets you upgrade your car as much as you want and kill many, many more zombies. There are no other in-app purchases to be made.
Personally, I love this system that allows you to play the game for free but unlock crucial features for full gameplay if you like it, just like what you get in my favourite game of 2014, Smash Hit. Dead End is a free download so try it out, and if you like it, buy it!