App Review: Dead Space

At my first glance at the game I thought Dead Space would be another zombie shooter/zombie killer while I waited for the 300MB to download. When I began playing, it had an unsettling feeling to it. I didn’t expect much. I was enjoying the vivid, detailed graphics of the game, stunned that it ran so smooth on my iPod. Then everything turned red and I ran for my life!

Dead Space, by Electronic Arts, is a third-person shooter with action-adventure and horror (lots of horror) aspects to it. The story was the most confusing part for me to understand, but it did eventually come to me. You start the game with objectives to shut down servers and advance through the level. As you shut down the last server you open up Pandora’s Box. Everything spews out and goes out of control; Necromorphs, alien monsters, appear everywhere and you have to fix your wrongdoings, and escape with your life while fixing it.

Dead Space features a creepy gameplay with natural controls, detailed graphics, bloodcurdling audio that complements the gameplay, plenty of replay value, and delivers a big bang for your buck.

Gameplay and Controls

Dead Space has the creepiest, scariest, and most gruesome gameplay I’ve seen in a while for any iDevice. Going through every level, I found something unsettling with every single step I took. I’m easily scared, so I almost defecated myself while playing the game (not literally). The game is simply horrific. To get the best experience out of the gameplay, play it alone in a dark room with a pair of headphones on.

The dark, creepy atmosphere adds a disturbing feeling to the game

The game ran really smooth on my iPod 4G; EA did a great job with the stability of this game (which they haven’t been doing so well lately). The high frame rates allow you to see, in detail, every body drop to the ground, every Necromorph run up on you from nowhere, and every monster dash across the hallway.

The controls in Dead Space feel very natural and unique, unlike the gameplay which is unsettling and scary. It didn’t take me long to adjust to these controls. The game brings you through them when you first do an action or use an item. A full set of controls can be found in the help menu. There are no controls cluttering the screen except for one button. No joysticks, knobs, obtrusive buttons, or anything else gets in the way so you can see every creature creep by. After a while, the controls simply disappear and you can focus on the game without them interrupting.

The basic controls in Dead Space consist of:

  • The left side of the screen acts as a joystick. Swipe up and down to move your character forward and backward respectively. Swipe left and right to strife in those directions.
  • Swipe the right side of the screen to look around and aim.
  • Tap the right side of the screen to enter, what I call, aiming mode.

This is what aiming mode looks like. Remember to “cut off their limbs.”

  • While in aiming mode, tap the right side of the screen to discharge your weapon.
  • There are some special weapons and items in the game that are used differently. Therefore, they each have their own unique controls.

The gameplay and controls work really well to create an unnatural feeling in the air. The game leaves you on your toes with your heart racing. The controls seamlessly disappear and just seem right for the iPod.

Gameplay and Controls: ★★★★★

Presentation and Graphics

Menus in a game are important to allow users to play the game, adjust settings, and find information quickly. The menus in Dead Space have a futuristic, spacey, and technological theme to them. This makes sense as the game itself seems to follow this pattern. Animations of the menus are smoothly and work very well. You go to various places in the space station to get to different menu items. Navigation is also very easy to understand as the menus are organized brilliantly.

The clean menus in the game with the space station in the background

Like the gameplay, the graphics follow up with creepy, dark objects that appear from nowhere. The graphics are very detailed and amazing as you can see everything: the glowing lights, the textures on the walls, and the gory dismembered body parts dripping with blood on the floor. The disturbing visuals work for the game as a whole. The spine-chilling graphics of the game complement the gameplay allowing for a 100% horrific experience. This is a good thing; you want a scary game to be horrific.

Two dismembered bodies on the floor. I see two pairs of legs, but no torsos or heads…

The presentation and graphics in this game are phenomenal and fit the game’s style. The menus were easy to navigate and the graphics were really detailed, but scary. Everything just works with this game.

Presentation and Graphics: ★★★★★


In order to have a scary gameplay, three things must work together to create an unsettling experience: the gameplay, the graphics, and the audio must all work together to scare the pants off of you. The audio in this game certainly does the job by supplementing both the gameplay and graphics.

When you start the game for the first time you jump right into the game. After that, you are given the main menu. In both cases, you are greeted with background music that keeps you guessing, and thinking in the back of your head, that something is wrong. They successfully add to the scary experience.

The sound effects are abundant. You can hear every step that the Necromorphs take, every gunshot and metal door slam shut, and every dead body drop. You can hear it all. Dramatic sound effects that you normally hear in horror movies also keep your eyes moving whenever you hear it because always something happens when you hear the sinister sound. The sound effects keep you on your toes.

The sound in this game successfully keeps this game horrific. With the successfully scary sound, it completes the three requirements needed for a game to give a terrifying experience.

Audio: ★★★★★

Replay Value

The game offers lots for replay value. Deep Space offers 2 difficulty levels to start; however, you can unlock the ‘hard’ difficulty by beating the game. There are also an ample number of achievements to go through. These achievements aren’t just for looks either. Actually they are, with each achievement you get, it gets you closer to unlocking another wallpaper for your device. It is nice to see you rewarded for these achievements.

The gameplay is pretty long, able to kill a couple of hours of your life if you rush through the game. If you take your time and can’t rush, it’ll give out even more gameplay. After beating it once, you do unlock the hard difficulty. Besides the extra difficulty level, the game is addictive, especially if you are into horror games similar to Dead Space. Even if you hate horror games, this is the type of game that you want to put down, but pick back up to see what happens.

Even with the mass amount of gameplay and achievements, replaying the game numerous times may not appeal to everyone (like me). This is where EA needs to add some more to the game to make it last longer. Maybe a cooperative play mode or something else could be added to extend the gameplay. Once you beat the game, there really isn’t much left to do.

Dead Space does have lots of replay value that can leave most hardcore gamers satisfied, however, it could use more. This is the weakest part of the game, not able to earn it a perfect five.

Replay Value: ★★★★

Value for the Money

$6.99 USD is a steep price for an iOS game. One can really regret buying something that cost that much if they end up not liking it. You don’t need to worry about this with Dead Space. The game is worth every hard-earned penny that you pay for it. You trade off $6.99 for:

  • A well-built game where the gameplay, graphics, and audio all work well together to create an unnerving gameplay.
  • Outstanding graphics that are unbelievably detailed and just look amazing, even if they are hair-raising.
  • A really stable game. This is a plus for EA since their last few games had a problem with this.
  • Extremely high frame rates so you can see everything that happens.
  • And much, much more!

With everything that it offers, the game is well worth the money that you pay for it. I’d go on to say that it is a console-quality game that is worth way more than its current price tag.

Value for the Money: ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

Dead Space is a must-have game. It is an adrenaline-packed, gut-wrenching game that will keep your heart racing until the end. The graphics, gameplay, and audio all work in harmony to create an inharmonious, spine-chilling game. The game is console quality and is worth way more than the price tag it is currently set at. The game is as close to perfection as I’ve seen in a while. Unrivaled by any app of its kind, it offers a 100% unique gameplay for the iOS platform.

Final Scores:

  • Gameplay and Controls: ★★★★★
  • Presentation and Graphics: ★★★★★
  • Audio: ★★★★★
  • Replay Value: ★★★★
  • Value for the Money: ★★★★★

Overall Score:

All prices are in US currency unless stated otherwise.
This review was written by the Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All accessories and applications were purchased at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.

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