Into the Dead (iOS) review

Into the Dead is a new iOS game from PikPok, developers of a number of respected iOS games including Flick Kick Football, Monsters Ate My Condo (for Adult Swim) and Zen Puzzle Garden. It’s available now as a free download with additional in-app purchases of in-game currency.

Into the Dead is a first-person “endless running” game themed around the zombie apocalypse. Unlike most endless runners, which tend to take a colorful, cartoony aesthetic, Into the Dead instead adopts a very atmospheric appearance, remaining almost entirely monochromatic and silhouetted throughout. The aesthetic is very similar to the popular independently-developed platform puzzle game Limbo, though the proportions of the humanoid figures are more realistic than in that title.

Gameplay in Into the Dead is very simple. Using one of four different control schemes, players must survive for as long as possible against increasingly-thick zombie hordes. The game is presented from a first-person perspective, and the player’s controls consist simply of moving left and right to avoid zombies and other obstacles, and using a weapon if they have found one in one of the crates scattered across the landscape. Weapons begin as a simple pistol, but as the player progresses through the game, additional weapons become available.

Progression through the game is primarily measured through a series of Jetpack Joyride-style missions, though in a slight twist on the formula players must complete three specific objectives to level up rather than simply earning a certain number of points/stars from any combination of objectives they please. Early objectives are clearly designed to introduce players to the game’s main systems — later ones challenge them to consistently better their performance under increasingly-difficult circumstances.

Players earn soft currency between each run (or may acquire it through in-app purchase) — this may subsequently be spent either on bypassing a difficult mission objective or on “perks” to apply to the next game. These perks range from starting the game with a weapon to getting a 1,500m head start, making attaining high scores somewhat easier. Money is relatively hard to come by, however, so players will either have to restrain themselves a little with perk usage or purchase a package of coins to feed their habit.

The game makes use of Game Center for leaderboards and achievement tracking — this also means that player will be able to make use of iOS 6 Game Center’s “Challenge” feature to directly compete against specific friends. The game also incorporates Kiip (pictured below) to provide “real-world rewards” for in-game achievements such as passing specific distance milestones. Most of these rewards appear to be money-off vouchers for various services rather than tangible “prizes,” but the promise of such rewards may provide additional incentive for players to check back on the game regularly.

Into the Dead is a very good take on an increasingly-tired genre. The first-person perspective and grim horror aesthetic give it a very distinctive feel from the many Temple Run-alikes available on the App Store. Some App Store reviewers have complained that after a certain point the upgrades and weapons make it feel like it’s almost impossible to die; others have complained that the game feels too “pushy” in its attempts to get players to purchase coin packages. It’s a good, fun game while it lasts, though, and certainly one of the more visually-impressive iOS games we’ve seen recently.

Into the Dead is currently ranked at No. 157 in Top Free Games and No. 287 in Top Free iPad Games. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.


A visually-impressive, atmospheric take on the “endless runner” genre.