You shouldn’t judge people purely on first impressions (although many of us do). You probably shouldn’t do the same with apps either. But first impressions count for a lot, and my first impressions of zombie killfest Earn to Die are, well, not that great.
Earn to Die is a bizarre side-scrolling drive-em-up zombie bloodbath for iPhone or iPad.
Based on the premise that you can only escape the zombie hoards by driving from somewhere in Texas to somewhere else near Seattle, your goal is to keep driving no matter what. The zombies that block your path are there to be splatted: so splat them you must.
Despite the zombie apocalypse, the economic wheels continue to turn, albeit in bizarre ways. Every time you drive, you earn money, which you can spend on upgrading your car. There’s also a decent supply of gas.
The start of the game – the bit that provides such a disappointing first impression – consists of a rapid trundle down a steep hill and into the face of an obliging zombie. Then you run out of gas. So you do it again. And run out of gas. And again. And run out of gas.
You’re earning zombie-death-dollars all the while, so never fear: your repetitive opening moves can be put to good use, upgrading your vehicle for the next level of destruction.
But at this point I was already bored. Yes, later levels are much more entertaining and bloodthirsty, but why do the opening few minutes have to drag so much?
As you play on, you’ll find yourself slowly accruing money, and with that upgrades. With sufficient repetitions, you eventually get the juicy stuff, such as faster, better-armed vehicles, zombies that run after you and grab hold of your car, bosses and plenty of scenery to destroy. There is fun to be had playing this game, but you have to put in some time to reach it. Personally, I’d rather play a game that jumps straight into the fun stuff at the start.
I’ll give in to the inevitable at this point, and make a comparison with Carmageddon, which we reviewed very recently. Carmageddon is a hugely superior game in almost every respect. It has a better sense of humor, better gameplay, better visual presentation, and a helluva much better opening level. OK, OK, so Carmageddon concentrates on slaughtering people, not zombies, but in gameplay terms there really isn’t much difference.
Where Carmageddon pulled me in and kept me hooked from the very first hum of an engine, Earn to Die left me wondering what I was doing with my time, and whether or not I might make myself a cup of tea.
If you’re in the market for any sort of pedestrian-splatting car-driving fun on your iOS device, don’t bother with this. Go directly to Carmageddon. It costs fractionally more but is much, much better value for money.
Source: App Store.