Updated: End Night HD iPad Review

The new update for End Night HD addresses some of the issues that bothered us in our original review. On paper, the things they’ve fixed may sound like minor tweaks, but they have a sizable effect on the overall feel of the game. In fact, we can now recommend the game to people who were on the fence before.

They’ve made two important tweaks here: it’s now possible to pick up items while your character is moving, and the camera pulls back when you go outside. Both of these updates have a major effect on the gameplay experience.

First, there’s a ton of collectible stuff scattered around that gives you bonuses of varying sizes, but prior to this update, pushing the onscreen button to pick it up was unreliable. Now, it works every time, eliminating a good deal of frustration. The other tweak makes the camera pull noticeably when you go outside. This gives you a wider view of your surroundings, making it easier to find your way around the neighborhood, and to see any approaching zombies.

End Night HD is still not for everyone. It remains an extremely challenging, often frustrating experience. The difference is that when you die now, it usually feels like you deserved it. If you like your games with bite, this one has you covered.

In End Night HD, the apocalypse has arrived. An infection has spread through your neighborhood, turning everyone into brain-dead, bloodthirsty maniacs. You play as a scientist who’s uniquely capable of finding a cure and putting a stop to the carnage. The problem is, to perfect the cure you’ll have to collect lots of samples from the neighborhood houses, all while maintaining your health, finding ammo, and fending off an endless horde of raging psychopaths.

The game plays more or less like a dual-stick shooter, with an isometric overhead camera angle and a movement stick in the lower left corner of the screen. The difference is, you don’t actually have to aim your gun to shoot. Press the shoot button once, and you aim at the nearest enemy. Press it again, and you pull the trigger. You might think this would take some of the challenge out of game, but you’d be dead wrong.

Darkness, imprisoning me.

There are no checkpoints in End Night, so the stakes are high. When you die, you have to start over from square one. Your only saving grace is an RPG-like progression system that you access between runs. This lets you spend the points you’ve earned on boosts that make guns more powerful, your armor more effective, and your reloading time faster.

But the fact is that you will die a lot in End Night HD. Enemies are everywhere, and they come at you at the least convenient times. The more you play, the better you’ll become at maintaining your ammo and health levels, but the game world is large, and you’re constantly under attack. The problem with such an extreme level of difficulty is that the game can be so frustrating that it becomes demoralizing. If you’re not the type of gamer who can keep coming back after dying over and over again, we suspect that you’ll bail on this game very early on.

Get equipped with shotgun damage increase.

But the crazy difficulty level is only one of End Night HD’s faults. When you get hit, the screen flashes red and your health bar goes down, but there’s no sound effect or any visceral feeling to taking damage. Also, the game is so dark that it’s hard to play even in a normally-lit room– just check out the screenshots we took. And the controls can be finicky: For instance, the button that appears when you’re near a collectible object doesn’t always work. This can have a devastating effect on your run when you’re under attack while trying to pick up ammo or extra health.

Making an extremely tough game worth playing is a tall order for developers, because they have to find just the right balance between difficulty and reward. In some games, like Run Roo Run, the gameplay alone is fun enough to keep you coming back– plus, beating levels earns you medals and unlocks more levels. In End Night, on the other hand, there’s only one level, and you might spend 20 minutes on a run before dying. A new (even harder) mode is unlocked when you beat the game, but it takes place in the same game world, so it doesn’t feel like much of a reward.

If you’re a diehard fan of survival horror, you might dig End Night HD’s bleak atmosphere and enormous level of challenge. But for regular players, the game’s flaws and unforgiving nature will probably be more trouble than they’re worth.

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