BeyondDead, the newest offering from Monster Robot Studios, is a game that attempts to recreate those old warm and fuzzy feelings we used to get in the days of yore from playing the Metroid games on NES and SNES . BeyondDead’s hero, however, is no Samus and the game itself is a far, far cry from reaching the heights of even the worst Metroid games. This is about as half-baked as they come, and it needs to go back in the oven.
You play the game as Tank, a character that could be Samus’ beefed up twin brother, who is assigned the duty of trying to figure out what went wrong with a terraforming project on a remote asteroid, and why no one at the base is responding. As he traverses the station’s numerous corridors and rooms trying to discover the deep, dark truth about what happened, Tank will be besieged from all sides by strange creatures like weird crab things, slugs that shoot at him, and most frequently…zombies! Sigh.
We call this the chopper.
If the rote storyline hasn’t turned you off yet (and we can sometimes forgive unoriginal plots), then the clunky controls surely will. Two different control schemes are offered. The default is an invisible control setup which has you swiping and tapping either side of the screen to move, jump, and fire. The second option is the more traditional onscreen D-Pad for movement, with separate buttons for shooting and jumping. There’s also a button that activates a scanner on Tank’s helmet, but for the life of us we can’t figure out the point of this.
Whichever option you choose is almost immaterial, as both options will reduce even the most seasoned gamer to tears trying to get Tank to do anything useful. Trying to do simple things like walking up and down stairs or aiming your weapon are maddening. Tank also has an annoying tendency to just stop and stand still while using his weapons, and an even more irritating custom of walking off in random directions all on his own. There is a noticeable delay when swiping or tapping to perform a jump, and attempting a successfully timed double-jump will likely send you searching for the nearest bottle of Xanax.
Don’t turn around.
The game is also very buggy. It crashes on a pretty regular basis, has numerous typos, blurry text, and lengthy load times. Worse, BeyondDead features a truly bizarre programming decision: when Tank’s health gets below a certain point, a really high pitched alarm will start to go off and doesn’t go away until you heal him. You find yourself turning the sound down pretty quickly with this game.
BeyondDead is simply unplayable in it’s current form. It almost seems like an act of contempt on the developer’s part to release a game in this state and expect people to pay actual money for it. Metroid (or Metroidvania-style games) haven’t been too well represented on the App Store yet, and BeyondDead isn’t helping the cause.