iPhone Life magazine

Review: Zombies Don't Ride by Retro 64

Retro 64, developers of the awesome turn based tile RPG Rune Raiders, released a new game called Zombies Don’t Ride earlier this year.  This is one of those games that drive me nuts because while I can list several reasons why I shouldn’t like it, I find it hard to tear myself away from the game any time I load it up.  It’s certainly nowhere near the caliber of Rune Raiders, yet it’s highly addictive in its own way.  It also has the potential to be a money grubber, so if you can’t resist IAP, you might want to stay away.

Spike Bike
 

You’re a man with a shotgun on a scooter, trying to stay away from the zombie hordes as long as you can.  There are only two things you can do: tilt the device to steer and tap to fire your shotgun.  There is no aiming other than direction your scooter is facing at the time, and it’s very easy to miss a shot, despite the close proximity of the undead.  Additionally, it takes a few moments for the shotgun to reload, so use it cautiously.  You earn one coin for every 10 whatever you travel (I don’t know if the distance is measured in feet or meters or what), and as far as I can tell there are no bonuses for zombies shot or anything like that.

Coins can be used to unlock and upgrade power ups as well as buy new helmets.  You get one random power up at the 100 distance mark, and then another one at 300.  After that I don’t know because I barely ever make it past the 300 mark and have only passed the 400 mark twice.  Because of the big gap between receiving power ups and the short duration the power ups last they are of limited usefulness until they are stronger, and it does not seem that the helmets make a difference at all.  This is all kind of a shame given how much the items cost and the fact that I typically earn maybe 15 to 20 coins in a run.  Of course, as I mentioned before you do have the option of buying coins via IAP, but I prefer to earn my loot the old fashioned way.

Overwhelmed
 

The game is universal though it does not appear to support iCloud, so you’ll have to earn your goodies separately on each device you want to play on.  There are 28 Game Center achievements which should keep you busy for a while, and leaderboards give you the chance to compete against other scooter drivers.  Honestly, though, I think this is one of those games where it will be easy to loose interest once all of the items have been unlocked and upgraded.  It would be nice if there were some permanent upgrades like a faster scooter or quicker reload.

Graphically the game is not bad, especially given the top down perspective which I don’t usually like when it comes to things like people and creatures.  The visuals look like they were made from clay, though I believe this was just an artistic choice rather than the creatures actually being molded and filmed.  The sound effects are okay, though I will say that if I could last long enough, the scooter noise would probably start getting on my nerves.  I do like the music, which has a bit of a Goosebumps vibe to it.

Rocket Booster
 

Zombies Don’t Ride really has nothing new to offer either the infinite running genre or zombie slaying games in general.  For the currently free price tag, however, it’s at least worth picking up and checking out once or twice.  You might even get hooked for a while.  Then I’d recommend supporting the developer by downloading Rune Raiders and dumping some IAP into that one, which is a much more worthwhile endeavor.

Overall Score: 7/10
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.