Review – The House of the Dead: Remake

I don’t think the announcement and release of The House of the Dead: Remake was given as much attention as it deserved. I, for one, was ecstatic. As mentioned in my interview with the game’s producers, I love this stupid franchise, and even went as far as buying a Wii for the sole reason of wanting an easy way to play The House of the Dead at home, without needing to shell money on a Dreamcast, a light gun, a copy of HotD2, and a CRT screen. This brand new entry is a remake of the original game, released for arcades and Sega Saturn, one not a lot of people, myself included, have played. Still, I had a great time with it, despite its fair share of issues, most of them being things I was already expecting from a game like this, and with such budgetary constraints.

The House of the Dead: Remake Controls

It’s not exactly as good as a light gun, but it’s the best substitute you can get on a modern system.

Let’s get the obvious (and most important) out of the way right from the get-go: does The House of the Dead: Remake feature light gun gameplay, like its arcade counterparts? Yes… kinda. What the developers have done to circumvent the limitations imposed by the Switch, modern gaming in general, and current TV technology (remember, light guns only work with CRT screens), was to use the Joy-Cons’ gyro functionalities to emulate the control and feel of a light gun. In other words, you can play this game on a large TV screen, with one Joy-Con in hand, aiming at the screen as if that minuscule and cramp-inducing thing Nintendo calls a controller was a gun. It works better than it sounds, but it’s not without its fair share of issues.


It’s ridiculous. It’s cheesy. Just how I wanted it to be.

It’s not as responsive as it should be. Just like playing an early Wii game with the original, non-Plus Wii Remote. The crosshair goes ballistic at times, and I did die a few times due to the game just deciding to act on its own when it came to my aiming. The Joy-Cons are very small, and very light, meaning that it’s pretty easy to lose grasp of your aiming. This is where I honestly think The House of the Dead: Remake would have been a better fit on VR platforms, as both the Oculus Quest and the PSVR have controllers that are better suited for shooting gallery games like this. Case and point, that one Zombieland game that was a lot better than it had any right to be, as well as Until Dawn: Rush of Blood.

The House of the Dead: Remake Bosses

Boss battles are less tense than they look.

You can still have a lot of fun with it. I sure did. There’s something about the utterly cheesiness of the franchise (let’s face it, not a single The House of the Dead game has ever felt polished) that made me ignore this problem, as well as its presentation. The game is not exactly a looker, but it also looked a lot better than expected, considering the hideous visuals shown in the game’s original announcement trailer, released more than a year ago. It feels like a PS3 game, with the same framerate issues you’d expect from those earlier PS3 titles. At the same time, a lot of effort has been put in the enemy designs. There’s even a gallery where you can look at them in more detail. Oddly enough, the game also features a photo mode, something rarely present in a Switch release.

The sound design is also pure cheese, as expected. It’s really bad, but in a fun kind of way. I really hope this was intentional, in order to capture the essence of what made the original arcade games so memorable back in the day. The soundtrack is equally over-the-top, but maybe a bit too loud and poorly mixed. There are times I could barely pay attention to the brilliant stupidity that was the voice acting due to the music being so loud to the point of overshadowing every other sound effect in the entire game.

The House of the Dead: Remake Gallery

This game didn’t need an enemy gallery, but I’m glad the devs went out of their way to add this neat little extra.

It’s silly, and it’s pretty janky, but the overall campy nature of the franchise made me overlook some of the issues present in The House of the Dead: Remake. As of now, its performance needs some tinkering, and the developers really need to fix the responsiveness of the gyro aiming functionality. Still, I had a lot of fun with it. I used to think that owning The House of the Dead 2 on the Wii was the pinnacle of the series due to the simplicity of using the Wii Remote as a light gun, but The House of the Dead: Remake allows me to do that and take an arcade classic with me on-the-go. I really hope the developers decide to remake The House of the Dead 2 as well. Now this will make me go ballistic.


Graphics: 6.0

It looks better than any other The House of the Dead game ever released, but not by much. Its framerate is also a bit wonky, but nothing that completely ruins the experience.

Gameplay: 7.5

The good part: you can use the Joy-Con’s gyro sensors in order to emulate a light gun for complete retro shenanigans. The bad part: it feels as wonky as playing a Wii launch title with the original Wii Remote.

Sound: 6.0

Silly (and loud) music and even sillier voice acting. I am dead sure the latter was intentional, as I would have hated to hear a The House of Dead game with decent acting.

Fun Factor: 8.5

It’s janky beyond description, but weirdly enough, it almost makes The House of the Dead: Remake even more charming as a result. It could have been better in terms of its controller responsiveness, but it’s still tons of fun. Can you please start working on a remake of the sequel?

Final Verdict: 7.5

The House of the Dead: Remake is available now on Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.