Should these Reels have stayed lost?
The release of the House of the Dead: Overkill – The Lost Reels for iPad and iPhone had me excited. I had heard much about the over-the-top Wii game, and thought that perhaps the iOS version would bring a taste of what so many people had raved about to a platform that I could play on the go.
After just five minutes of gameplay, I sincerely hoped that The Lost Reels didn’t adequately represent the original Wii version – something I later confirmed online. There isn’t much inherently wrong with the play mechanics of The Lost Reels, in fact it worked quite well considering it is an arcade-style shooter ported to a touch device. It was the tonal aspects and lack of character that held the iPad version back for me. The characters showcased in the Wii original don’t appear in the same style of voiced cutscenes. Instead, any exposition is handled with comic book style non-voiced storyboards. I suppose that one can’t expect to see that kind of budget put into an iPad app, but it was disappointing to know that the game is an inferior experience when compared to the original from a story perspective.
Gameplay-wise, The Lost Reels is a run of the mill arcade shooter. As mentioned before it works and controls quite well. The player automatically walks through the rooms of each level, and drags their finger to aim the crosshair. Tapping to shoot, reload, and throw grenades works reliably thanks to the large icon for each action. I found myself enjoying the shooting at times, even though the world it was set in was a bit bland. The escalating levels of nonsensical violence may get a chuckle out of some, but without a larger sense of context and a more graphically varied world I found myself losing interest.
The game includes plenty of IAPs, giving the player the opportunity to buy their way ahead by purchasing extra equipment. While I find the inclusion of prevalent IAP in paid games annoying, it is possible to play through without indulging in IAP. That is, unless you want to play the last set of levels, because they are only available via IAP. This surprises me, considering the game already costs $5.
If you are in the mood for some hyper-violent arcade action, you may enjoy The Lost Reels. I found that the game lacked any real comedic edge, something that the Wii version appears to have. Considering that the primary selling points of the Overkill games are their intentionally overbearing violence and comedy, I would consider The Lost Reels a weak successor to the original game.
The House of the Dead: Overkill – The Lost Reels is available as a Universal Download for $4.99