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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Free Hugs: Dead Ahead


Addictive is the word that comes to mind when I think about Chillingo's recent release, Dead Ahead, an "endless runner" game where the player rides his moped away from hordes of zombies (The endless part of the genre comes from one's inability to technically "win."  The player will go until he is caught by zombies or crashes, and no level has a clearly defined finish line).  I'm not all that excited by new "zombie" games these days, but moped games... now that's a different story.

See, there are certain things that are magically locked into my brain forever.  These are beliefs and philosophies defining the core of my being.  Mopeds are one such thing.  I love mopeds, scooters, and vespas.  While, I understand that they are not actually cool or suave, there is this little patch of brain in my skull that refuses all reason and accepts them as the ultimate... let's go with "chick magnet."  Oh, how misguided you are, little patch of brain...  This same area of grey matter convinced me to switch the language setting from English to French and pay $1.99 (as an in-game download in a free game) so my avatar could have the company of Vera œil de Lynx riding in my side car, gunning down the zombies on our romantic drive through the post-apocalyptic countryside.

As heavenly as that sounds, the aesthetic charms of Dead Ahead are not what make it so addictive.  The ranking system does that.  The levels are endless, but "getting farther than you did last time" (the typical goal of an endless runner) is seldom the point of playing.  New bikes, weapons, and levels become unlocked with each new rank, and the ranks are determined by certain feats you accomplish during play.  To get to Rank 8, I needed to Parcourir 3,000m and Percuter plus de 50 zombies.  During one run, I aimed to accomplish the the first goal, and then I tried for that second.  Giving these goals vastly changes how the player interacts with the game and often offers something to do beyond "get farther."

If I get that kind of enthralling game play from an easy to pick up endless runner that allows me to ride mon bécane cross-country as the french beauty in my side car guns down hordes of the undead, then lord of mercy, I must recommend it!

Dead Ahead is available at the low, low price of "with ads" for free and can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.  I strongly suggest buying the Vera or Betty characters for $1.99 (which, in addition to being very helpful at killing zombies, remove ads).