It’s the perfect storm: the tricks of Joe Danger, the infinite running style of Tiny Wings, dopamine-rousing lotteries and, of course, zombies. Zombie Road Trip pretty much writes itself: you direct your auto-accelerating car along an undulating 2D course, pulling tricks in return for boost and shooting zombies for currency, and survive for as long as you can before the pursuing zombie horde catches you.
For better and worse, it features plenty of F2P craftiness. There’s viral virulence in rewarding you currency for issuing highscore challenges to all your Game Center friends, or sharing on Twitter and Facebook. In the pricing of gadgets, weapons and vehicles, and their related upgrades, the drip-feed of currency grabs and pulls you along, and it’s balanced so you’ll feel progression through skill, even if you’ll have to grind hard for the best, incredibly expensive, items, which are an in-app purchase away.
Granted, Spokko also boasts pure game-making talent. The floaty inertia of your car is impeccably tuned; achieving Perfect Landings by touching all wheels down at the same time is always satisfying; and the sound effects on topping the walkers are just right – the squelch of a headshot, the splatter of an in-air collision. And game over always comes as a result of making mistakes.
Of course it’s ultimately empty. The more money you spend, the greater the distance bonus you receive. At level nine, your score is 2.6 times your distance, making the main leaderboard a matter of perseverance and commerce rather than skill. Like so many similar games, Zombie Road Trip makes you question why you’ve sunk two hours into it rather than BioShock Infinite, but you grudgingly admit to enjoying the ride nonetheless.