No matter how often we see the Unreal Engine 3 in action, it's always impressive to see high-end graphics on a device that's smaller than an Xbox 360 controller.
But few developers have managed to create a mobile game that matches the engine's 'wow' factor, often opting for simple shooters instead of trying to create titles that factor in the limitations and opportunities of touchscreen gaming.
Which brings us nicely to Combat Arms: Zombies, an FPS from Nexon Mobile that showcases all the razzle dazzle the the Unreal Engine can offer but fails to impress all the same.Rotten flesh
Lacking a coherent narrative, Combat Arms: Zombies is a glorified Horde mode. You play as a voiceless marine stranded behind enemy lines, and you have to fight off ever toughening waves of the infected undead.
Between waves your ammo is resupplied, and your health regenerates, leaving you primed and ready to take on the next group of identikit corpses that shamble into view. The more walking dead you kill, the more XP and cash you receive.
You can spend cash on new weapons and characters, and backpacks that let you carry more guns into battle. You can also spend real life money on topping up your reserves if you think the game isn't giving you enough.Flavourless organs
There are two stages to survive through, and six different difficulty settings. As well as making the horde tougher, the higher difficulty settings increase the number of waves you have to face, and the number of directions the zombies can come from.
The way the controls are set up when you first install the game makes it almost unplayable on smaller-screened iOS devices. A small, fixed stick and an even smaller 'shoot' button mean you'll be zombie fodder before you've had a chance to swear.
You can change to a more palatable system in the options menu, although the best the game has to offer still isn't really good enough. Coping with small numbers of zombies is relatively simple, but once a few more join in you'll find each of the control methods hopelessly inadequate.Destroy the brain
Combat Arms: Zombies has its moments, but it makes the same mistakes we've seen time and time again. It's another shooter that crumbles because it hasn't tried to adapt to the hardware it finds itself on.
Chaining together zombie kills is fun, and the first few waves breeze past in a spray of viscera and bullets. But once things get a little tougher, all of the enjoyment is pounded out of the game by sloppy controls and overpowered enemies.
Throw in some uninspired level design and you're left with a game that feels more like a slapdash mod than a fully fledged retail title. This is the latest in a long line of Unreal-powered games that fail to do the engine justice.