Touch The Dead

Touch The Dead isn't about touching zombies, or even shooting them: It's about reloading. Shooting the enemy isn't the hard part—just tap the stylus on a head, gut, or limb, and the zombie goes down. But the reload time makes the game punishing. Where a light-gun arcade game usually lets you reload by just shooting away from the screen, in Touch The Dead, the process of sliding ammo into your gun and watching yourself ever-so-carefully insert the clip can eat crucial seconds. When 12 bullets' worth of zombies shuffle in front of your eight-shot pistol, you have to pick the right moment to leave yourself vulnerable.

And that's pretty much the whole game. Touch The Dead is a premium-priced budget title, with ATM-quality graphics, a mishmash of settings, and no story to speak of. It can be finished in two hours—if you don't make any mistakes. But average players will struggle, studying the zombies' weaknesses and practicing levels again and again to get it right, and those average players will probably have the most fun beating it. At the most basic level—shoot and reload, shoot and reload—Touch The Dead is strangely satisfying: Its pace and rigor make up for the fact that it has nothing else to offer.

Beyond the game: Lately, it's become hip to support B-grade films or games like this one with the excuse, "I'll buy anything with zombies in it." But remember, you'll get sick of zombies someday, just like you grew out of ninjas, cowboys, and dinosaurs.

Worth playing for: The tactile thrill of stabbing the screen again and again with the stylus. (Worried about your screen? Some players actually recommend switching to a Q-Tip.)

Frustration sets in when: You'll find few chances to patch yourself up from the zombie bites, and your health doesn't magically come back between missions or chapters. Get beaten up on one level, and you'll limp your way into the next one.

Final judgment: The shuffling, drooling hordes of zombie fans will enjoy this pared-down, unpretentious shooter.