With no relation to the popular Sega franchise House of the Dead, the development studio that handled Winnie the Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly Adventure on the Game Boy Advance shifts gears (drastically) to Touch the Dead. Dream On Studio brings this shooter to the DS with some unique ideas that unfortunately fails to translate into an enjoyable or very playable experience.
While the box lists the main character’s name as Rob Steiner and his situation as a prisoner for a murder he didn’t commit, the player would be lost as to what’s occurring in terms of the story by jumping into the game. The brief cinematics are filled with barely discernable graphics (Steiner’s face bears no resemblance to a human form), and cheap action movie dialogue that would be out of place in an ‘80s action movie.
Game play takes place in a first person perspective, and the character is on-rails as with any title in the familiar light gun shooter genre. The difference here is that there is no light gun, only a stylus of death. Touching the screen fires the players chosen weapon, while keeping it on the screen can unleash a stream of bullets once certain power-ups are obtained.
It’s hard to be inaccurate when you’re basically firing point blank, so hitting one of the ridiculous number of undead roaming the hallways (how many people worked in this prison exactly?) isn’t particularly difficult. To make up for this, the developer has crippled the player, giving them extremely underpowered weapons, zombies that do not want to end their afterlife any time soon, and a reload system that is more frustrating than unique.
The system itself is simple. Bullets from the left of the screen need to be dragged over to the right (or vice versa if the settings are flipped), resulting in a reload animation. The process is quick, yet the small ammo clips barely hold enough ammunition to take down a single foe. Headshots are rarely enough, and even going so far as to put a bullet in each spot on the incoming undead may not kill them off.