The Dead Space 2 action-horror sci-fi game is out on consoles this Friday, but it's swiftly preceded by the first Dead Space game for iPhone and iPad, which was released on Apple's App Store this morning.
The game aims to set the scene for Dead Space 2, with a storyline set three years after the first console game. That means it's part sequel, filling you in on what's happened since the original Dead Space, and part prequel, explaining why the game's villainous Necromorph aliens are on the rampage again in Dead Space 2.
If you're new to the series, we'll boil it down to this: you run around spaceships shooting the bejaysus out of scary aliens.
Theversion is, without wishing to be over-effusive, amazing. The graphics are cracking, the touchscreen controls work really well, and if you wear headphones as EA advises, it's genuinely creepy to play, as Necromorphs loom out of the dark. Weapons available include the Kinesis and Stasis modules that were used in the original Dead Space, and also new kit like Plasma Saws (exactly what you'd imagine) and Core Extractors.
One interesting aspect is the use of in-app payments. You can wander into in-game stores and buy upgrades to beef up your weapons, boost your attack and defence skills, and increase your ability to scavenge items from dead Necromorphs. This kind of feature could be controversial if the paid-for kit was required to get the most out of the game, but in this case, we think players will see it as a useful (but optional) extra.
EA is also linking up this iOS game with Dead Space 2 on consoles. No, not for multiplayer -- although it's a thought. If you register the iOS version, the publisher promises a 'special unlock' in the new console game.
Here are App Store links for the iPhone version and iPad version of Dead Space. Sadly, this isn't a universal game that runs across both: the two versions are sold separately. The iPhone game costs £3.99, while the iPad version will set you back £5.99. In both cases, that's good value for money given the quality of the game.