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Into the Dead 2 review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: PikPok
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

Whatever else there is to say about Into the Dead 2, this seems like it should come first:

  • The game’s price on mobile: free
  • The game’s price on the Switch: $35

I know, I know: the Switch version doesn’t include in-app purchases, some of which run as high as $70 on mobile. But even if the mobile version has more than a hint of pay-to-win about it, it doesn’t erase the fact that you’re still paying $35 just for buttons. Even as someone who likes buttons, that seems almost indefensible.

It also doesn’t help that even with the in-app purchases taken out of Into the Dead 2, there’s still a giant, IAP-shaped hole where they used to be. The game is geared towards separating players from their money at every opportunity, and it does so by doling out XP at the most miserly rate imaginable. In the mobile game, your options are to either tough it out and grind your way through level after level, over and over again, very slowly earning the XP you need to upgrade your guns — or, alternatively, you could buy gold, and take a shortcut.

The Switch version doesn’t have the shortcut, as far as I can tell, but it still only gives you tiny amounts of XP for every level you finish. You get useless, single-use power-ups. Your scant amounts of ammo carry over from level to level, including if you restart a level. The only way here to get marginally better guns is to do the same thing over…and over…and over.

And make no mistake, Into the Dead 2 is already a game that’s built around repetition. It’s an auto-runner where your goal is to run a certain distance, avoiding and/or obliterating zombies all the way. There’s some story that tries to tie it all together about saving your loved ones, but that’s beside the point: every level is all about getting from point A to point B, ideally shooting enough zombies to get an extra star, with the rare detour into very short turret gun sections. Doing these levels one after the other after the other will make you feel like you’re playing the same level on repeat; literally doing the same level over and over again, and then doing the next one over and over again, and so on and so forth just to upgrade a few guns just feels torturous.

The odd thing is, if you just ignore what the game is trying to make you do and just have fun with it, Into the Dead 2 becomes passably decent, at least for a little while. If you simply focus on running, rather than on shooting, you’ll find that the game conveys that feeling of momentum, of striving towards those endpoints, surprisingly well. You almost feel like you’re moving forward, and it feels kind of cool. Eventually, of course, you’ll reach a point where you need more firepower and you’ll just have to go back and do those levels over again until you’ve marginally improved the options at your disposal, but if only for a few moments, the game isn’t all bad.

Of course, there’s a massive gulf between “momentarily fun free mobile game” and “Switch game that costs $35,” and you can be certain that Into the Dead 2 doesn’t come anywhere near crossing the yawning chasm. I hate to reduce the game’s worth to how much it costs, but when the game gives you so little for such a high price (relative to free), it’s impossible to see anything other than the downsides.

Versus Evil provided us with an Into the Dead 2 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-