With such a long title, one would think that The House of the Dead: Overkill - The Lost Reels would be a longer game. This new iOS shooter, which serves as a variation of the 2009 Wii game, is a bit too brisk for its own good. But does its lack of meatiness render it a waste of time? It depends on what you want to do with $4.99.
Although the App Store promises gamers three levels to play, the final stage costs an extra two bucks. So if you want to spend five bucks for two zombie killing levels in story mode plus the repetitive survival mode, I'm not going to stop you.
Having not played the original Wii version, I come to The House of the Dead: Overkill - The Lost Reels with fresh, if not ignorant eyes. I never killed zombies as the 'cool as a cucumber' Agent G or the testosterone driven Isaac Washington, nor had I experienced the copious amounts of blood spewing this game has to offer. As a purely visceral experience, Overkill absolutely delivers.
Although the high end weaponry such as the assault rifle, minigun, and auto-shotgun will cost a ton of coins, the currency is actually earned by each stage you complete. I completed the two levels, Papa's Palace of Pain and Ballistic Trauma, using a submachine gun and shotgun, and upgrading both weapons should do the trick. The boss fights are also relatively easy, and depending on your opinion on how these kind of encounters should go, that's either a good thing or a bad thing. After a few tries, I switched my weapons back and forth and pumped hot lead into this ugly critter and was ready to move on. I was more than happy.
The actual game play is pretty easy once you realize the most important aspect to killing a roomful of zombies; always switch your weapons when your ammo runs out. Swapping out weapons is a sliver faster than reloading the same gun, and that millisecond saved is the difference between restarting a stage or completing your goal. Along with way too many undead to count, there are also health kits, grenades, money, and hidden rooms to be discovered as you venture through the two main levels. Since all you have to do in the game is aim, swap your weapon, and shoot, the only way to retrieve any of these extra items is to pull the trigger at your intended target.
For Game Center nuts, there are 32 achievements to be had, and after a couple of hours you should be able to accomplish at least half of them. This is the perfect game to rack up Game Center points in the shortest time possible, but of course to complete each one of the challenges you will have to download the final level, which looks like it will be a bit saucier than its predecessors.
The House of the Dead: Overkill - The Lost Reels may just offer two levels right off the bat, but I had enough fun blasting my way through a sea of the walking dead. If Sega threw us a few extra stages before slapping us with the $1.99 charge for the final stage, I would have rated this game much higher. Unfortunately, we live in a world where free to play, freemium, and in-game purchases are the norm. Sometimes it's fine to make peace with those extra charges, especially if zombie killing gets you through the week.