Like a zombie, Into the Dead 2 is simple.
Made for mobile, Into the Dead 2 is a game in which all you’ve really got to worry about is moving left and right and firing your gun. And now it has found its way onto Switch without any of the mobile gubbins that drags it down. Basically, there are no longer ads popping up as you play, and no in-game purchases are required. Of course, it means you have to pay for the game instead of downloading if for free, but when something is this entertaining and is packed with so much content, it’s no big deal – providing the price is right.
Story mode makes up the meat of Into the Dead 2; there are seven chapters of zombie shooting action spread across 60 levels, all tied together with a narrative that’s more engaging than you’d expect. It’s your typical zombie yarn: man drives truck, man hits zombie with truck, man swerves truck in shock, truck gets totalled, man needs to run to his family. From there, there are twists and turns, but the real draw is always the action.
Like an endless runner, your character runs forward of their own free will. Played from a first-person perspective, it means that all you have to care about is avoiding obstacles and shooting zombies. Initially you only have a handgun, which as you can imagine doesn’t have much stopping power. As soon as the second level, you’re also granted a shotgun which can take out multiple zombies if they’re grouped together. And of course, more weapons become available as you progress through the game.
Two weapons can be equipped at once, with the simple push of a button switching between them. The scarcity of ammo means you will be making use of both of them, too. Ammo can be acquired in each level by running over ammo dumps, but you can never determine for which weapon it will be allocated. There are also temporary weapons you can pick up during levels such as chainsaws, allowing you to tear up some zombies in style for a short while. And if you happen to run (quite literally) into a mounted machine gun, you can make use of that, too. Or toss a grenade if you have one to clear out a bunch of zombies ahead.
Your aim in each level is simply to make it to the end intact. That means it’s sometimes best to avoid zombie contact whatsoever. Along the way, however, there are optional objectives to complete, usually along the lines of “kill X number of zombies with Y weapon”, awarding stars. Collect enough stars and you’ll find yourself rewarded with weapon unlocks, the gold required to buy unlocked weapons, and boosters, making it worth replaying levels if there are still objectives to be completed.
Things start out rather breezy, but the difficulty soon picks up. You can only afford to get caught by zombies once in any level, with an emergency knife being employed to put down your first successful undead attacker. But with weapons levelling up the more that you use them, boosters that increase aspects like reloading speed and fire rate, and a host of canine companions to assist you, no challenge ever really feels insurmountable.
Outside of story mode there’s also arcade mode, which challenges you to kill as many zombies as you can with a range of weapons. It makes a nice gory alternative to the zombie-avoiding antics of story mode, and allows you to hone your prowess while earning yet more rewards. There are also multiple side stories to play though, each offering rewards and a change of scenery. The more interesting ones, however – Night of the Living Dead and Ghostbusters – need to be purchased from the Nintendo eShop if you buy the game digitally. And you need to have pretty much completed story mode to play them, too. At least they’re no too expensive at £4.49/$4.99.
While the prices of Into the Dead 2‘s licensed DLC seems reasonable, however, the price of the game in general most certainly is not. £31.49/$34.99, or £39.99/$39.99 for a physical copy which has the two additional side stories packed-in, is a lot for a game in which all you do is move left and right and shoot zombies. Sure, it packs in a lot of content, but it’s a lot of repetitive content. While Into the Dead 2 is fun, it isn’t a game you’re likely to sit down and play for hours. It’s the type of game you’re just going to delve into now and again, because otherwise the action gets old pretty fast.
It has to be said that Into the Dead 2 looks pretty nice on Switch though, and it is rather atmospheric. If you’ve got deep pockets and don’t mind blowing a considerable amount of cash on a game that has about as much depth as an exploitative zombie flick, you won’t be disappointed. Everyone else, however, is probably better off waiting until it’s discounted, otherwise they might feel as gone in the head as the shambling undead they’re killing time and time again.