iPhone Life magazine

Review: The Last Driver by Chillingo

Okay, I told you my “series” on infinite runners wouldn’t be coming out 5 days in a row.  In fact, this is part two and I think I’ve published 2 or 3 other reviews in between.  At any rate, this time around I’m taking a look at The Last Driver from Chillingo.  Apparently you are the last driver in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies, UFOs and dinosaurs.  Thankfully you have an upgradable vehicle that jumps and has weapons attached to it, so theoretically you’ll be okay.  In practice, though, that isn’t so much the case.  Still, it can be quite entertaining for those few moments you stay alive between menu screens.

Kansas Here We Come
 

So as the last driver it’s apparently your duty to drive as far as you can before the powers that be stop your progress.  Interestingly enough, like several other recent infinite runners the game seems to take away or limit certain “standard” features.  This game is all about going forward, so while you can slide left and right to dodge things there are no actual turns to change your heading.  Also, your jumps are limited by a starting amount plus any extras you pick up along the way.  On the plus side you have an upgradable weapon can help clear a path for you and a power ups that will offer such things as a temporary shield or a magnet to attract gold coins.  You can also upgrade other aspects of your vehicle and even buy new vehicles if you save up enough money or buy some coins via IAP.

You’ll need all the help you can muster to deal with the hazardous landscape.  You can mow down any zombies, but all of them except the basic type will do damage to your vehicle as well.  There are even clingers that will jump on and try and throw your vehicle out of balance.  In addition to all that you’ll have to deal with T-Rexes, UFOs that will blast the ground out from under you, Indiana Jones style boulders and even a giant robot that wants to blast first and ask questions later.  On top of all the “organic” obstacles, it’s not unheard of to see buildings crumble or highways collapse, causing the terrain itself to change before your eyes.  To navigate all this treachery you can use either on screen left and right arrows or tilt control.  Either way there are buttons for jumping and using your weapon.  Either navigation method works fairly well but I prefer the arrows.

That's Not Optimus Prime
 

You get a score every time you’ve finished a run, but that’s just kind of secondary.  There are two groups of three missions to complete, and each time you complete a group you’ll go up a level and earn some extra coins.  Once you’ve completed both sets you’ll start over, but while the missions are the same the numbers needed to beat them keep getting tougher.  Additionally there are achievements to master.  There are only 10, but most of them will take several sittings to conquer.  Even without the achievements, though, the missions would be enough to keep me coming back for more.

The Last Driver looks really good.  The 3D world is nicely rendered and full of little details.  Also, even if it’s something simple like a new building type, I always feel like I’m seeing something new each time I make a run.  The special adversaries like the dinosaur or the robot are pretty awesome to look at.  The sound effects are extremely well done and do a great job of bring the world of The Last Driver to life.  Even if you are the last human, it never feels like the area around you is dead (undead, maybe, but that’s another story).  I’m not a big fan of heavy metal style music, but even that seems to fit in well with the overall atmosphere of the game.

Gang's All Here
 

I know at this point you’re probably wondering if you really need another infinite runner, but if you have any love for the genre left you’ll want to get this game.  If you’ve somehow managed to skate by without ever indulging in this type of game, this is as good a place as any to start.  The tumultuous landscape makes for an exhilarating ride, there’s too much going on to get bored, and the “throw everything under the sun at you” attitude provides some well executed chaos.  It’s time you showed everyone what being the last driver is all about.

Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4 running iOS 5.1.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.