APP OF THE DAY: Earn To Die review (iOS)

Zombie mania is upon us. It's hard not to bump into a zombie-based game or even turn on the TV without seeing some undead-featured show. Daresay zombies have almost got boring, so for Earn To Die - the oddly-titled 2D side-scrolling zombie smash-'em-up - to earn App Of The Day is a clue to how much fun this game is. In fact, it's downright awesome.

Earn to Die

Platform
iOS
Price
£0.69 (iPhone, iPod Touch) / £1.99 (HD iPad version)
Where
iTunes / (iPad version)

Earn To Die's key to success? It's simple and fun. Oh, and gory, albeit in an almost cartoony way.

This genre-fence-sitter of a title is part side-scrolling racer, part zombie smash-'em-up platformer. Think 2D Carmageddon meets a flattened Fallout on speed and you're most of the way there.

The premise is simple: the undead have taken over, you have to find a car - "any car" as is voiced in the rather cheesy, yet scene-setting intro - in order to speed through the zombies, ramps, lumps and bumps to get to various checkpoints. The ultimate goal is to reach a military aircraft that's ready to zoom your character away to apparent freedom.

Fuel is limited, so the first few plays will likely see the on-screen car do little more than roll down a hill. But, fortunately, distance through a level earns cash, and it's with this cash that more fuel and various upgrades can be purchased at the garage.

Whether enhancing the gearbox, the engine, or adding various spiked nasties or a big ole gun to the front of a vehicle, it's possible to upgrade to help progress through the level. "Boost" is another key factor, that turbocharged extra something to help propel - quite literally - the chosen vehicle through those tougher spots.

As levels advance so do the vehicles - ranging from a school bus to a truck, right through to an army heavy equipment transporter - which have greater abilities to smash through the barrage of undead and various wooden blockades. All of this stuff costs exponentially more, of course.

Controls are simple. There's an accelerator button to the bottom right of the screen, well placed for a casual thumb, while left/right "tilt" sit to the opposite side. When "boost" is bought from the garage it will appear to the side of the accelerator. Although the controls are on the screen itself, fingers don't get in the way of the action so it's easy to see what's going on.

Working through the story mode is easy to complete. In fact most levels require little more than a full tank and a constant press of the accelerator, though additional control and boost will help speed things up.

It's after completing the story that things get interesting: Free Ride offers access to all levels with any given vehicle, while Championship offers a set amount of cash to do up a given vehicle per level and see how fast the checkpoint can be reached. These times are ranked, so there's that element of competition to get high up the score board - and it's this that'll give the game longevity. It takes a lot of fine tuning to spend the cash wisely for the best combination and by this stage in the game some boost deployment can be the difference between those crucial seconds.

We'd like to see more levels, more vehicles and a dash of added difficulty, but for the 69p that the iPhone games costs (£1.99 for the "HD" iPad version) it's a great little slice of iOS fun.

The title may not sound too appealing - yes, we know, it's a poor play on "learn to drive" or something like that - but this is one of those "don't judge an app by its title" kind of things. We're serious, go download it now, it's oodles of mindless fun.



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