Madfinger is synonymous with high caliber mobile games. With Samurai II: Vengeance and Shadowgun under their belt, gamers everywhere were genuinely excited for the next game in development. So when Dead Trigger was announced pre-E3, players didn’t mind it being another zombie game and were giddy over its FPS action instead. The addition of Tegra 3 enhancements were mouth-watering and even the base visuals looks stunning. Unfortunately, what lies beneath the skin is a whole different story.
If you’ve yet to play Dead Trigger then prepared to be disappointed. Like Zynga and Glu before it, Madfinger Games has opted for an in-app purchase model. After already dropping cash to purchase the game ($0.99 as of this writing), the choice of forking out additional funds for new weapons and upgrades cheapens the experience. The game is only a shelf above the free-to-play titles. While casual gamers may appreciate this model, hardcore gamers such as myself feel it takes away from the game. There is no sense of progression if one can just buy themselves out of a level.
While the business model argument is another topic on its own, Dead Trigger divides players squarely into two camps: you either love it or hate it. To its credit, Dead Trigger never pushes you into making a purchase, and the game can be completed without dropping another cent. Still, it may have been a better option to give players the choice of a higher-priced game with everything unlocked or steeper difficulty.
The in-app purchases may have easily been overlooked if Dead Trigger had some sort of plot. Sure, Shadowgun and Samurai II: Vengeance are not exactly an odyssey, but there’s a feeling of being part of an actual universe. Dead Trigger fails in this aspect. The story is presented entirely in text-based form, breaking the illusion of a zombie apocalypse survivor.
Gameplay in Dead Trigger is actually fun. There’s just something about blasting zombies that has yet to get old. The controls (for touch input) are spot-on and there are just enough enemies to keep you blasting away happily... for 15 minutes. Unlike Shadowgun, which was a console game for mobile, Dead Trigger is tailored for mobile consumption. Levels are extremely easy (even on the hardest difficulty) and can be finished in short bursts. Sadly, there’s not much variety either, as you’ll find yourself repeating the same base objectives over and over. Collect this, kill that. Wash, rinse and repeat.
As much as I gripe about Dead Trigger, it’s still a great game. Zombie shooting is fun, and the visuals sit up there with some of the best. Unfortunately, its braindead story, lack of challenge and the overall feeling of buying a glorified demo makes this a disappointment in comparison to other titles in Madfinger’s catalog. In that respect, if you’re looking for a brainless FPS with great controls and awesome visuals, Madfinger Games has the zombies for you.