The day has finally come when we get to see Iron Monkey Studios and EA Mobile’s iOS version of the console survival horror hit Dead Space, and it doesn’t disappoint, throwing great graphics and sound together with a harrowing, intense experience. But that’s not all we have on today’s Fresh Apps -- keep reading to find out about first-person 3D stealth puzzler Surveillant, and an update to the iOS-based war board game Neuroshima Hex. All three will compete for your attention.
Dead Space (iPhone, iPad) $6.99/$9.99
Full disclosure: I’ve been waiting for this game for the better part of the last month or longer, and while I haven’t been able to get through the entire thing just yet, the first two chapters have adequately satiated my need for a creepy, beautiful survival-horror experience on the iPhone. Fans of the Dead Space console games will have a good time with what this small-scale third-person prequel has to offer.
Set in "The Sprawl," a space station that’s suddenly filled with huge, mutated monsters, you play an operative that goes only by the code name Vandal. You’ll work through The Sprawl in attempts to escape vicious monsters that can only be killed by dismemberment. If it sounds gross, it is -- there’s plenty of blood and gore to go around, and if that’s not your thing, stay away. But for the rest of us, Dead Space captures some great scares and a slow-burn feeling of dread (and the awareness that we really don’t have enough ammo) that few games can really capture.
Surveillant (iPhone) $1.99
Surveillant isn't much to look at. It features environments made of bland white and red shapes for the most part, and at first leaves you wondering just how interesting it might be. It turns out, though, that this 3D stealth puzzler can be pretty fun, especially when you’re made to act fast to avoid detection, which is the game’s central premise.
Your goal is to navigate through each level by climbing onto various platforms, in order to reach a surveillance camera without it seeing you. Being seen actually means you get melted by the camera’s on-board laser, which also serves to show you were it’s aiming and how much time you have to escape. Movement is controlled by tapping a surface you want to move to, and as long as you can see it, you can move to it as if floating. Climbing is key, as is situational awareness, to beating the game’s 10 puzzles. More levels are promised with developer Recluse Industries’ next free update.
Neuroshima Hex update (iPhone) $4.99
A strategy board game that has you carefully using different “tiles” representing armies, weapons and resources to take on your opponent, Neuroshima Hex is a pretty deep and involved strategy experience, with high production values. Fans of methodical thinking war games like RISK will have a good time with it, and its cyberpunk aesthetic and sensibilities make it a lot of fun to look at and manipulate. Play against computer-controlled opponents or with up to three other human players.
Neuroshima’s new update makes the app work better in a lot of ways. It now has universal support, so it works on all iOS devices, and developer Big Daddy’s Creations has integrated new leaderboards and achievements using Game Center support. The game has been tweaked to look better all around, with graphical optimization for both iPad and the iPhone 4’s Retina display.