Game Reviews

Death Dome

Star onStar onStar offStar offStar off
| Death Dome
Death Dome
| Death Dome
This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting the game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about. Carry on.

Let's not beat around the bush, here. Death Dome is an unashamed and unmistakable rip-off of Infinity Blade.

This is a game in which you go head to head with titanic beasties who intend to cave in your brain box with various blunt instruments. You'll deflect their attacks by dodging, blocking, and parrying, before fighting back by fiendishly rubbing your finger all over the touchscreen.

Instead of fantasy monsters, you'll go up against mutated goons who have come down with a nasty virus that happens to make them a bit ugly. It also has the unfortunate side effect of making their attacks extremely easy to predict and parry.

First impressions

The combat is fun - it was fun in Chair's repetitious fable, too - and learning an enemy's attack patterns so that you're able to systematically deflect each incoming blow is quite a thrill. Most of the best ideas, like having mini-objectives for each fight, are lifted wholesale from Infinity Blade and its sequel.

Instead of branching paths, the game has a map screen and distinctive battlefields. The idea is that you'll dispatch a handful of low level grunts before taking on a screen-sized boss at the end of the chapter. Which I did. Without paying a penny. So far, so good.

This is a freemium game, though, so we'll keep playing and see how the monetisation clashes with the gameplay in a few days.

Three days later

In chapter two, I'm told that my weapon of choice - a rusty battle axe with a fiery twist - is weak. And Death Dome is not joking. This weapon is hilariously underpowered, and even when fighting the most scrappy goons, successful blows seem to shave individual pixels off the enemy's health bar.

The game has a recommendation, though. How about a toxic 'stop' sign that does immense amounts of radiation damage whenever I slug someone with it? Sounds good, but there's a catch. It can only be bought with the game's rare, premium currency.

These blood-red diamonds don't appear often, so I'll need to pay up with real world money to get them. The cheapest pack is £1.99, which is a little too much for a virtual stop sign.

The next weapon I can buy with in-game cash - an electrified hammer - costs 4,000-odd coins. That's way outside my budget, and it will take hours of grinding easy enemies to be able to make enough.

That gets pretty dull, especially when you learn to know their tells so perfectly you can get through a fight without taking a single hit.

I'm starting to see lots of little money-grubbing moments of monetisation. You can revive yourself if you fail a fight, but it costs money. If you don't have enough you're taken to the bank section, where you're encouraged to spend upwards of £70 / $100 on premium currency. It's also packed with full-screen adverts.

It's not looking good for Death Dome. Right now, I fancy packing it all in and just going back to Infinity Blade. But, I'm contractually obliged to keep playing this ugly game, so I'll see you in a week. Ta-ra.

Seven days later

I got the radiated 'stop' sign. I didn't pay for it, mind. I got some death diamonds for playing for five days in a row, got some more by signing up to a newsletter, and got the final few by liking Glu on Facebook.

Only to be told that my new weapon is also "weak"! It's a little better than my axe, but still largely ineffectual against the enemies in chapter two. I'm still doing little damage, and still dying very quickly.

The game's next recommendation is a ridiculous tool - a stick with a bee hive on the end, and a small bear pawing away at the honey - which can, you guessed it, only be bought with premium currency.

95 death diamonds, to be precise, at a cost of £4.99. Interestingly, you could buy Infinity Blade II for that amount.

I decided to grind for a bit and earn enough money for that 4,000-coin electrified hammer. I went back to chapter one and killed all the enemies I'd killed before, easily dispatched a bunch of boring foes, and finally made the money. I bought the hammer.

Death Dome told me that my new weapon was weak. I deleted the game.

How are you finding the game? Got any tips to share with the Pocket Gamer community? Let us know by leaving us a comment.

Death Dome

A shameless clone, bursting at the seams with sneaky money-making schemes. Your progress is halted if you don't pay, and there's no telling how much it would cost to complete it
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown spent several years slaving away at the Steel Media furnace, finally serving as editor at large of Pocket Gamer before moving on to doing some sort of youtube thing.