The recently released Dead Space remake is a triumph among video game remakes, many of which haven’t been very well received by fans over the last few years. And as a massive Dead Space fan, I’m so damn happy to see EA spending money on the franchise again—with great results. But, I can’t help but think about a Dead Space game that EA has buried and most have forgotten about. That game is Dead Space mobile, a fantastic pocket-sized horror game that desperately needs to be given a second chance.
Let’s travel back in time. It’s 2011, a few years since the original Dead Space’s 2008 launch. Dead Space 2 is coming out and alongside it another entry in the franchise. But this game won’t be released on consoles or PC. Instead, the confusingly named Dead Space (often referred to online as Dead Space mobile) arrives on iOS and Android devices. At the time I wondered: How good could a Dead Space mobile game actually be? Then I played it and discovered it wasn’t just a good mobile game, it was a great standalone horror game!
Set before the events of Dead Space 2, Dead Space mobile tells the story of Vandal, a new recruit to the scary space cult seen throughout the franchise. Vandal is sent to Titan station, the setting of the sequel, and unwittingly unleashes the Necromorph invasion upon the space base that Issac has to deal with later in the console game. The rest of Dead Space mobile involves Vandal trying to fix this massive fuck up, get evidence against the cult, and help people aboard the station escape. I won’t spoil its twists and turns, but it’s an engaging and tense horror adventure that will take most players about two to four hours to complete.
What really makes Dead Space mobile so good is that the devs behind the game designed it from the ground up to be a mobile game. For example, to grab or interact with the world you just touch the thing or switch with your finger. No virtual buttons are needed. When aiming the iconic Dead Space plasma cutter, you slightly tilt your phone to flip the laser from horizontal to vertical. It sounds finicky, but in practice, it works well even during some of the later areas which toss loads of nasty monsters at you.
Not only does it work well, but it feels so different from today’s current big mobile games, which are often covered in virtual buttons and joysticks and feel like they were built with a controller or keyboard in mind and then ported to a phone. Dead Space mobile instead feels perfectly at home on your tiny phone or tablet.
If you play Dead Space mobile with headphones on in a dark room, you can quickly forget that you’re playing a pint-sized mobile tie-in and get sucked into the dark corridors and creepy atmosphere of the game. Very few phone games have ever scared me and Dead Space mobile is on that shortlist. Even with its slightly chunky graphics and limited lighting, this mobile interpretation of Dead Space was still a tense lil’ masterpiece that worked with its limitations and didn’t fight against them.
Sadly, this is the part of the story where I have to explain that Dead Space mobile is currently not available on either iOS or Android. In 2015, EA removed the game from digital stores and it became unplayable on newer devices over the years.
Now, if you own an Android device and you know what an APK file is and where to look, you can still technically enjoy Dead Space mobile in 2023 thanks to crafty and dedicated fans. But if you don’t, you’re shit out of luck, and it’s a shame that such a gem of a horror game has been left for dead by EA.
However, perhaps there is still hope for Dead Space mobile. I can confirm that the game runs well on modern phones with a few fan-crafted modifications . So it seems possible that EA could spend some money and re-release Dead Space mobile on newer phones. But even better than that: EA should take the time to release Dead Space mobile across consoles and PC, too. Sure, it might need some changes and some really low-res assets might need to be swapped out, but it would be worth it. It would bring the game to more people and would ensure Dead Space mobile doesn’t get left behind again, as a PC version can more easily be modded and updated by fans for years to come. And while I think Dead Space mobile feels perfect on a phone, I think it would still be damn good on a controller. Or even the Nintendo Switch!
With Dead Space’s remake doing so well, it seems likely that a Dead Space 2 remake could follow and the mobile game fills in some important holes in the series timeline, so a re-release seems even more needed now than ever before.
Sadly, with the recent news of EA killing mobile games, it seems unlikely the publisher will fund even a small-scale remaster of Dead Space mobile anytime soon. But if it does happen, I’ll be right there, ready to spend the money to buy and replay this fantastic horror game once more.