Monday, October 28, 2013

The Many Days of Horror! - Dead Trigger

Dead Trigger

Despite owning a Nexus 7 and recently acquiring a PS Vita (it’s pretty neat) I haven’t spent any time discussing the range of portable gaming options out there. Since we’ve got a horror-themed October, now seems like a good time to mention one of the better free options out there, Dead Trigger from Madfinger Games.

Dead Trigger is a freemium game, which is to say you download and play for fun and spend some money to acquire in game “gold” which can be used to gain extra equipment, items and perks. The free core game is actually pretty robust, and you won’t soon find yourself required to purchase anything. There’s a curious little casino event tied to daily free tokens for play which might net you some cool gear or gold coins to spend, but it’s more of an aside to the actual game…..easily ignored, though the prospect of winning a few medipacks is always worth playing your free daily tokens.

Aside from the little gambling side trek the game has a variety of items which can be unlocked through gold purchases. I found that you could get pretty much everything you could want for about $10-$15, leaning on the low side if you take advantage of some ways to acquire free gold through the typical advertiser partnership program so many of these Android app games participate in.

So: free game can be played without spending a dime and you’ll feel well rewarded, and if you do like it you can spend $10-$15 for in-game currency and buy pretty much all the game has to offer in the way of optional gear and perks. As freemium Android games go this is downright charitable.

Enough about the pricing structure….what about the game itself?

Dead Trigger is a first person shooter, built around a storyline involving your survivor in a city overrun by a zombie plague. The game overlays missions on a city grid, and you can go do one off missions, missions for gold, arena-style survival events and pursue the story missions at your leisure. The game makes judicious use of well-designed locations, which are repeated for the one-off missions and also the story missions. I’ve sunk quite a few hours into the game and haven’t gotten tired of it.

Most missions involve one of the following goals:

Survive – kill X number of zombies and live (or survive for X amount of time)

Protect – keep one or more locations, usually vehicles or barricades, safe from zombie attack

Gather – locate resources or equipment and deliver said goods to a drop spot while fending off zombies

Within that structure the game keeps you very busy, and the touch screen controls are surprisingly smooth and usually effective; about the only issue I run into isn’t with the game’s responsiveness at all but the limits of the touch-screen on the Nexus 7, which can get uppity if my finger isn’t pushing/sliding “just right” due to any roughness of the skin at all.

Aside from the running around and killing zombies the main gameplay element is one of resource acquisition and management. You don’t find a lot of resources during a scenario except for dropped cash and ammo, but between games you spend money to acquire gear and weapons that will help you out as well as perks as you level up; you have a certain number of slots over time, and you can load up on the gear you think will get the job done. If the choices don’t work then you can mix it up a bit and try a different approach.

While the game lets you buy almost everything with in-game currency it does let you purchase gold to buy resources. However in my experience this was never necessary; the regular everyday use gear was affordable on the cash earnings from each mission without ever resorting to purchased currency.

Each little mission is filling in a snack-game sort of way; play a survival mission for five minutes and feel like you had a decent shooter mini adventure. It’s great pick up and play gaming, and the graphics are excellent; unlike most garbage games on the Android marketplace Dead Trigger feels like a real game….something you’d find on a real game console.

The story is pretty basic but told through text sequences before and after each mission, setting up a lengthy tale of survival and escape. I’ve been playing the game for many, many hours now and still haven’t gotten to the end of the story mission, although that’s because it’s so easy to get distracted by all the side quests.

If you would like a little zombie survival horror action on you Android device, you could do worse than to pick up Dead Trigger. Dead Trigger 2 came out yesterday as well, and I have played the opening missions…it’s an even more polished experience but makes some changes to the formula that are rather curious, so the verdict is still out on whether I will like it better than the original. I suggest you try the first and then move to the second afterward….they’re both great pick-up-and-play survival horror games that feel like genuine, robust graphically intense gaming experiences for your tablet. If you have a Moga (mobile gaming controller) as well Dead Trigger also supports it and works great.


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