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Android Game Review: Dead Space

YouTube link for mobile viewing

Ed. note: The game was sideloaded on a Toshiba Thrive, as it doesn't natively install from the Android Market.

Oh, boy, here we go again. One man stranded on a spaceship? Been there. Hordes of Necromorphs? Done that. On Android? Well now, slow down there, Ace. Now we're talking.

Yes, it's finally happened. Electronics Arts has brought its shock-filled, gore-laden, space epic to Android, and man oh man, was it worth the wait. Dead Space has all the markings of a AAA title, and if it weren't for the slightly dumbed down graphics, you wouldn't know you were playing on a mobile device.

For fans of the Dead Space story, you'll be pleased to know that Dead Space (for Android) is part of the canon and takes place three years after the first official game but before the events of the second.

You play the aptly-named Vandal, a voice-distorted, identity-protected agent of the Church, who is "perfect" for sabotaging power supplies and causing havoc on his ship. Well, until all Hell breaks loose. Necromorphs start pouring out from every hole and crevice, gallivanting about all nimbly bimbly, all with the intent to gobble you up.

But this is Dead Space. You expected that.

For a mobile game, Dead Space plays well. Incredibly well, actually. EA has finally come up with a control scheme that doesn't use a restricting virtual joystick but still is as tight and (fairly) precise as a physical one. Instead of limiting your movement within an imaginary circle, EA simply says, "Move your fingers on top of Vandal as though you were using a virtual joystick and he'll respond appropriately."

It's effective, it feels good, and you never run the risk of stretching your hands too far out and running into the bezel, thereby stopping your movement completely. It works, and I hope to see other enterprising game developers shamelessly copy this control method for their own games. It'll make everyone's experience better.

Shooting is equally intuitive, with a simple tap bringing up your targeting reticule, and another tap popping off a shot. For those mining weapons that can shoot either horizontally or vertically, EA employed a quick screen tilt to change firing modes. No buttons to push, no combos to remember, just a quick tilt and the accelerometer will handle the rest. Just like with the non-existant joystick, it just works.

Graphically, the game looks great. Yeah, they're not quite PC or console graphics (that's especially evident on the Necromorphs close up), but by and large, everything looks amazing. Vandal looks like an absolute boss, and the glowing column along his spine (along with the rest of his getup) is incredibly detailed.

The opening sequence of the game also realy shows off the masterpiece EA has put together for us. Ship environments look realistic. Planets look impressive and rocky. With six different environments to fight (and survive) through, you'll constantly be finding something new to look at (and admire). Weapons look not only futurisitc and worthy of your nerd love, but functional, too. And did I mention the whole thing is voice acted?

There's also the requisite amounts of over-the-top gore, seen as you dismember Necromorphs, find brutalized corpses, and discover messages written in the final moments of someone's life. It all adds up to the heart-pounding experience EA is trying to pull you into. (I mean, they do recommend playing the game with headphones on.)

Overall, Dead Space is one of the strongest entries we've had into serious Android gaming yet, and it has earned a special spot in the upper echelons of the Market, reserved only for those games that truly push the boundry of what we're seeing. Other notables that come to mind are Shadowgun and Emissary of War, so Dead Space finds itself in elite company, and rightfully so.

If you can handle the gore, the thrills, and the heart-pounding "gotcha" moments, Dead Space is most definitely for you. Dead Space is $7.43 in the Android Market.

We've got download links after the break.

  • What tablet is that? The damn thing is "unavailable" for my Galaxy Tab 10.1.....though it runs perfectly on my Galaxy Nexus. Maybe I'll try pulling the apk from my phone or something.
  • toshiba thrive like he says lol
  • What the frak!? I can't install it to my Droid Razr or my Asus Transformer. *Unavailable* for both -_-
  • Cannot install on Xoom or Galaxy Tab 10.1? :(
  • It is a good thing android has all these choices so that when a game doesn't run on one device you can go out and buy a new one that it does run on. And they say fragmentation isn't a issue with android.
  • Do some reading. This issue in particular is due to the developer not supporting other devices, not an OS/hardware "fragmentation" issue. The majority of apps that are "unavailable" for certain devices actually run just fine if you sideload them. The developer is just being lazy. Both Gameloft and EA are notoriously bad at offering support for the newest hardware, but the majority of their apps run without issue if you pull them from other sources.
  • I agree. It's to the point now where I wish the market would let you load any app regardless of device and just put a huge, obvious, cannot miss, idiot proof warning for apps that are "unsupported" on a given device that the app may not run correctly. I haven't really run into a problem with my phone but tablets are notorious for not having apps being supported when they run fine.
  • Personally I believe it has more to do with copy protection than actual hardware/software support as 9 times out of 10 the units not "supported" is ones that have WiFi only, for example ASUS Eee Pad's.
  • Ive had this game for months now works great on HP TP running cm7 also works well on a Dell Streak 7 running 2.2.If its not in the market for your phone or tablet you know what to do just side load it see what happens.Real racing 2 isn't out for my Evo 3D but it works great
  • I love Dead Space, but I am not going to support this crap in whence I can't even get the game for my Eee pad.
  • It is ridiculous for developers to not actually put the game on new phones. I try to buy this game and it says it is compatible with my droid pro, but not my droid Razr. How stupid can they be.
  • Works for me on the Rezound !!!
  • Works fine on G2x Android 2.3.3
  • This sucks that I can't even load this on to my 10.1.
  • I can confirm that Dead Space runs beautifully on my Tab 10.1 after I pulled the .apk off my Galaxy Nexus. Proof: Sorry to the reviewer for getting off topic. If your device is high spec & can download the game and you're on the fence about putting down the $7, do it. I loved Dead Space on the consoles and this is most certainly a faithful representation of the gameplay from the consoles. The controls are intuitive and effective, and the graphics are great. I just wish EA would broaden its "official" support list so people can actually buy their products.
  • That's cool, but how do you pull an .apk from the Galaxy Nexus? It's a shame we have to jump through hoops just to play this. :\
  • File browsers like ES File Explorer allow you to make backups of your .apk if you aren't rooted (it doesn't save your data though, just the .apk. You'll find the option to make backups in the "app manager" section of ES). In this case, though, I created a backup on my Nexus in Titanium Backup and moved the backup files to my Tab. From there I just restored the app in Titanium Backup on my Tab and downloaded the game data from EA's servers. Went pretty smoothly. I'm assuming you can do the same using ES File Explorer and just porting the .apk over. Both my Tab and my Nexus are rooted though (the Tab isn't currently skinned just because I just finished wiping & installing a different ROM yesterday).
  • Agreed, the fact that this game will not load to my 10.1 means they will not get my money - at all. EA, pull your head out of your butts.
  • I have a Samsung galaxy s3 and this game will not download. It always stops at 61% what is the problem?
  • Dead Space! New game. version for developers. Full Beta. Push -
  • Dead Space-2 Beta version on android! Download