Dead Space: Ignition Review

Videogame marketing has always featured incredibly creative public relations endeavors, sometimes creating entirely new marketing ideas. While Visceral Studios may not be the first developer to make a game to hype a game (Dead Rising: Case Zero for example), it’s rare to see what is essentially a PR game in a wholly different genre than the game it’s promoting. Dead Space: Ignition, out this week on XBL and PSN for $5 (or free with a Dead Space 2 pre-order), is one such game, using three different kinds of puzzle games and comic-book storytelling to deliver the prequel story to Isaac Clarke’s second survival horror space adventure. It does so, I’d say, pretty well.

In saying that the gameplay is puzzle-based, I use the term “puzzle” loosely. The first minigame sees players controlling a line of energy (looks like Geometry Wars) along a circuit, avoiding obstacles and other energy to reach the end first. It’s actually more of a racing segment than anything else since the real key lies in finding the right route and using all the speed boosts available. It’s a bit difficult at times, but pretty forgiving so as to avoid being frustrating.

dead space ignition

The second minigame is like a tower defense, but really players just spam various types of viruses (units) until they break down the computer’s defenses and keep the story moving. It’s easily the least fun of the minigames, and more of a chore than a good experience.

The third minigame, however, combines grid-based strategy with a thinking man’s puzzle game to greater success. Players use reflectors to point colored lasers into particular slots on a grid, and the lasers combine in the latter levels to create a third color laser to input. The task involves a fair amount of trial and error, as well as careful planning and thought, and ample time is given for all of the above. It’s a solid little game that will really test your wits at times.

dead space ignition

The story itself unfolds in a grotesque, often ugly, comic-book presentation that accentuates the gruesome qualities and blurs everything else. It’s a little tough to completely overlook, even given the solid story and voice acting. That being said, after traversing through a choose-your-own-adventure style path (4 different ways to go), players arrive at a suitable ending that will undoubtedly make the wait until Dead Space 2‘s release that much harder.

It’s not perfect, and the art style can be irksome with its intentionally marred characters, but for five bucks (or for free), Dead Space: Ignition delivers a good backstory and a few pieces of entertaining puzzle gameplay. It’s likely to take most players around an hour to complete the first time through, and (especially) if you’re a Dead Space fan, then it’s time well spent. Isaac Clarke, here we come.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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