Dead Panic in Review – TD is dead and panicking?

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Hola, folks! The Tower Defence genre has been a bit stale lately. Despite the constant appearance of new titles, there have not been any really fresh ideas for some time now. Or have there? Independent developer Sean Maher’s mont-old Dead Panic is a cross between the Hero and Tower defence genres that has been shouldering the burden of expectation. But is it what we’ve been waiting for?

Dead Panic’s game play is simple: survive by killing zombies. Before the mayhem starts, you are given up to 3 units which you can freely place on the map. The twist is that your units have limited line of sight/fire which is depicted by a green cone and they can only shoot enemies that are within that sight. Don’t worry if you pointed them the wrong way because you can always fix their orientation later. Sounds good, right?

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Well, it is at first. But then, the boredom starts to set in. First of all, you NEVER get more than 3 units and shock! horror! and there are no upgrades. To make matters worse, there are only two unit types: a short-ranged rapid-shot common marine whose missiles have a wide throw pattern, and the long-range high-powered sniper whose shots travel in narrow paths. That’s it. Believe it or not, there are only 4 enemy types (zombie, tough zombie, crab and crow) and the levels are all the same size. Even when you get to the boss levels (of which there are only 2) the only difference from any other level is that must also destroy part of the scenery rather than just targeting anything that moves.

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Ultimately, Dead Panic boils down to strategically placing units and swivelling them to shoot the incoming enemy horde. Generally, the level of difficulty isn’t very challenging, but on the other hand, with no room for imagination or strategic decisions, it really would only hurt to make the game more difficult.

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On the upside, Dead Panic’s graphics are quite nice and the soundtrack just fits the game’s atmosphere, but like the game, it is repetitive. The somewhat confusing story advances through intermission and debriefing dialogues and isn’t too bad. As for controls, Dead Panic is responsive enough, but for some reason, there is no way to use multitouch to turn more than one unit at a time.

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Dead Panic is not horrible, especially on the first try. But, it feels like a proof of concept demo rather than a full-fledged game. Sadly, that new-toy shine scuffs quickly and things become boring pretty quickly. At times, I had much difficulty forcing myself to finish it for the sake of the review. Fortunately, I was vacationing and so needed something to keep me occupied whilst relaxing on the beach. Dead Panic has potential, but it desperately needs updates – items which will make it fun to play more than once and tweaks to make controlling the map better. At this stage, Dead Panic, which feels like a game-concept should be free.

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App Summary
Title:Dead Panic (V 1.0)Developer:Sean Maher
Price:$0.99App Size:7.1  MB
  • Innovative gameplay
  • Small maps
  • No room for tactics
  • Get’s boring quickly

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