When Gear VR games are ported to the Rift, you usually end up with is more of the same; a game with nicer graphics and the added benefit of positional tracking, but more or less the same experience. However with Drop Dread (2017), Pixel Toy’s port of their critically acclaimed Gear VR on-rails arcade shooter, the addition of Oculus Touch has brought the game to whole a new level of difficulty and hands-on action.


Drop Dead Details:

Official Site
Developer: 
Pixel Toys

Available On: Oculus Touch (Home)
Reviewed On: Oculus Touch
Release Date: March, 23rd 2017


I can hear you saying it: “Great, another wave shooter.” But hold on just a minute, because despite a few gripes, this one is actually fun.

Gameplay

Drop Dead plays on some pretty well-worn tropes; the evil German doctor (also somehow a Nazi when required) wants to create a master race, blah blah blah. He’s evil. You’re good. There are Zombies. The rub is you’re actually traveling through one of three discrete timelines and the apocalyptic future set before you can actually be stopped before it even happens. Each trip forward offers a new spin on the overall objective of the game: Stop the evil Doctor Monday from raising his apocalyptic army of zombies, get new weapons along the way, and blow up massive, and I mean massive amounts of zombies.

So while Drop Dead sounds a pretty basic in that respect, Drop Dead surprisingly boasts 27 single-player levels (throughout the three timelines), a broad swath of enemy units, and multiple guns to use (read: not keep or upgrade) along the way—not to mention some pretty good voice acting and a level of cheesiness to the story that’s entirely self-aware. Besides the obligatory online leader boards, single and online multiplayer survival mode also extend the game’s playability.

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Graphics aren’t incredible, with the art style wandering somewhere into mobile game territory, but it is visually cohesive and overall very likeable.

the evil Doctor Monday
the evil Doctor Monday

As for the weaponry, all of the game’s buffs and guns can be found in-level and no market exists in the game, so guns, grenades and slow-mo power-up drinks (very Call of Duty Nazi Zombies-esque) are only obtained temporarily during the level.

Shooting zombies can be repetitive at times, but that may just be a relic of the arcade wave shooter genre than Drop Dead itself. Whether that’s good or bad to you, there are some definite flaws that start to infringe on my personal expectation of “fun”.

  • No dual guns, i.e. you’ll drop a shotgun automatically if you go for your holstered pistol
  • Exposition is non-skippable, meaning you will have to sit through Doc Monday’s diatribes over and over and over until you beat the level
  • Zombies sometimes “stack up” and clip through each other, making it tough to get a clean shot
  • You can’t bat away incoming Zombies to get an extra second before getting mauled to death

I was tempted to add too things to the list; Drop Dead’s reload mechanic because of how fiddly I found it at first—sort of a count down marker that you can jump if you hit it just right, giving you a quicker reload—but after a while it eventually fades into the background as you get the hang of it. The second is the difficulty level. If you’re a pretty good shot, this may not be an issue, but the game doesn’t provide any gun sight upgrades, so there’s no assistance for those long shots besides iron sights—on Gear VR it is as simple as gazing and taping a button, but Touch controllers require more tactility, which can be good or bad depending on your skill level. No variable difficulty level is available, so it’s either shoot the best or die like the rest.

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'Arizona Sunshine' Review

Immersion & Comfort

Between having to hit the reload marker on time and prioritize running, trudging and flying targets, you really start to get into a certain flow with Drop Dead. Like all arcade shooters though, which by definition rely on scripted baddies popping up, it can lead to a certain predictability, making it less scary and more like a real-time puzzle, except the puzzle pieces are 8 screaming zombies coming at you while you only have enough time to fire off exactly 8 bullets.

Cowering from the hordes when you miss, which come at you in a little over 180 degrees (make sure to look to your extreme left and right!), is all but useless, so hitting the reload marker, executing headshots, grabbing guns and slow-mo drinks in concert really makes this game a fast-paced romp that immerses by sheer chaos alone.

Drop Dead Oculus(1)

This, however, is where the overall comfort of the game breaks immersion. Because this is an on-rails shooter, you’re necessarily swept from position to position across the map, and the game accomplishes this in two ways; ‘normal mode’, which automatically transitions your POV to each shooting position, or ‘comfort mode’, a removal of the sweeping camera in favor of automatic teleportation. Neither are really great in terms of immersion, one less so, one more so.

If you haven’t guessed where I was going with that, I’ll just come out and say it. Normal mode is downright sickening. Oftentimes I found myself being moved laterally, forward and being stopped without warning—a recipe for nausea if I’ve ever seen one. If you happen to have an iron stomach and a penchant for non-controllable locomotion, this may not bother you as much as it did me, but I could only play a two 10-minute levels before I gasped for the relief of comfort mode.

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While the automatic teleportation of comfort mode also infringes on immersion by not giving you control over your own movement, it is much less jarring even though it left me feeling uneasy about when and where I would be whisked off to next.

That said, Drop Dead was surprisingly fun despite these flaws, and is an easy game to pick up for short excursions into zombie carnage. Take a look at our ’10 minutes of Gameplay’ for Drop Dead to get an eyeball-full of the intense action of this on-rails wave shooter.

exemplar-2We partnered with AVA Direct to create the Exemplar 2 Ultimate, our high-end VR hardware reference point against which we perform our tests and reviews. Exemplar 2 is designed to push virtual reality experiences above and beyond what’s possible with systems built to lesser recommended VR specifications.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall
7

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  • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

    Don’t support Oculus. Google Oculus Trump.

    • cdm283813

      So if your house is on fire and the fire fighters all voted Trump who are you going to call?
      I’ll be the first to say that I despise Trump but you can’t punish everyone that voted for him. Heck, let’s punish the people that didn’t vote at all on Election Day. Many people stayed home that day and didn’t care who became president. Let’s face it, Trump did a better job getting more people to vote for him.

      • Bryan Ischo

        Don’t feed the troll. Just block him as I did. I can’t see the comment but I am pretty sure I know who it is and what he said … just block him.

      • Get Schwifty!

        He’s almost certainly mentally ill to post the way he or she does… don’t feed the troll ;)

      • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

        Google Oculus Trump cdm. He did more than vote for Trump. Why do you think he’s stayed away from the media for six months.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Don’t listen to iThinkMyCatIsAFlea as he is a dumbF…. Come on, stop bitching about Oculus and trump, it’s the same with you with every f-ing topic when it comes to Oculus..

      • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea
        • Andrew Jakobs

          Yeah, so, what’s your point? He can do what he wants, he lives in a free country. He didn’t murder anybody or something like that. He just supported one pro-trump group, nust like many supported pro-hillary groups which bad-mouthed trump… Get a f-ing life and get over it..

          • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

            The founder of Oculus supports the alt-right. He financed an alt-right group. Why do you think he’s hiding from the media?

            If you are thinking about buying an Oculus Rift headset, Google Oculus Trump before giving your money to a company whose founder supports the alt-right.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Oh my god you really sound like a stuck record, who cares if he donated some money to a company/group who made ‘funny’ memes badmouthing clinton. In your logic you should also stop giving money to any company that badmouthed Trump (damn, that means a lot of companies).
            You’re a moron by not letting him have his right to free speech, if he wants to be a righty that’s his prerogative, just as it is yours to be an alt lefty which you clearly are. As i said, he didn’t do anything illegal so SHUT THE FUCK UP and stop going off topic with your ranting, don’t comment unless it’s actually about the article.

    • Buddydudeguy

      stfu

  • Mike549

    They added more levels to the Gear VR when they released this too. It’s really one of the better Gear VR games. I’m getting the Rift version for sure now.

  • Paul Clark

    This game is fine the way it is, sorta. Its meant to be a wave shooter on rails – like an arcade game
    An FPS on rails? Drop Dead is a brand new zombie wave shooter of sorts for the Oculus Rift. I gave the thing a chance, and let me tell ya – it’s very fun. It’s on rails when you play – and during cinematics. For all you developers out there, its quite interesting to be placed on rails during a conversation with a NPC.Walking and talking side by side as the game dictates where I virtually walk. Gameplay feels like an arcade game, moving from location to location, on rails – just like any shooting game in the arcade – Time Crisis, House of the Dead. Drop Dead has a pretty good storyline, and lots of

    Best “wave shooter” zombie game I’ve played in VR – more fun than arizona sunshine with more gameplay. Arizona Sunshine has the graphics – little style, sort of boring. Drop Dead has its own style of graphics – like a living comic books sorta. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1ejlqbXsHawxnl55RjPsg7llZyQLkO7q