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The Last Driver

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Drivin' along in my automobile

Product: The Last Driver | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Endless running, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
 
The Last Driver iPhone, thumbnail 1
With the predicted Mayan apocalypse of 2012 fast approaching, many are wondering what form the Armageddon will take.

Perhaps aliens will come down and blast our cities to ruins with laser beams, or zombies will rampage through our streets terrorising us all with chainsaws and machetes.

The Last Driver seizes upon both of these possibilities, throws in a Tyrannosaurus rex for good measure, and puts you behind the wheel of a Mad Max-style muscle car as you try to endure the most thematically diverse end times ever imagined.

I feel safest of all

As the eponymous last driver, your goal is to flee the horrors that have befallen your nameless starting city and, well, drive. There's no end goal, no hope of salvation, and no turns to make. You just drive.

You're given a list of missions to complete along the way that increase in difficulty and usually involve driving for a set amount of time with full health or collecting a set amount of coins per run. These challenges are fun and - to their credit - challenging, but they don't establish any kind of story or advance the game's plot.

Fortunately, The Last Driver chooses to emphasise gameplay over plot. Each stage is randomly generated and changes dynamically - buildings collapse to form ramps, dinosaurs and UFOs destroy portions of the road, and it's up to you to negotiate these pitfalls as you try to top your high score.

Say what you will about the simplicity of the game's plot, but it's impossible not to smile as you run over zombies in the shadow of a rampaging T-rex.

I can lock all my doors

It's not entirely accurate to call The Last Driver a driving game. While you are undoubtedly behind the wheel of a car and you use your controls to drive, you can't deviate from the straight-line path that the game selects for you.

In reality, it's an endless-runner cleverly disguised as a driving game, the linearity of the levels helping to keep the missions manageable and challenging. The environments change as you progress further in the game, but each run starts - and progresses - along the same path, ending only when your life bar runs out.

The driving itself is handled either by on-screen buttons or through an optional tilt-control, both of which work well.

The Last Driver is a freemium title. It lets you buy various upgrades for your car using in-game currency, and many of these are achievable with a few hours of starting. Small upgrades to your Jumps and Ammo, for example, can be purchased after three to four runs at most, while the second armour upgrade (8,000 coins) requires a bit more investment.

Others upgrades, like the 'Super Ray' gun turret and the 'Zombie Killer' car, are egregiously expensive (50,000), meaning you'll be tempted to spend real money on them if you want them enough.

This is an understandable feature of a freemium title, and none of the expensive upgrades is necessary to complete any of the challenges. You can play and enjoy The Last Driver for nothing.

As an added bonus, there's no energy / fuel feature to limit gameplay time, so you can slaughter undead to your heart's content without spending a dime.

It's the only way to live

The Last Driver is a great example of how to make a freemium game. It takes two well-worn tropes (endless-runners and zombies) and transforms them into a fun game that feels fresh and delivers exactly what you'd expect from it.

While many of the missions and stage layouts feel repetitive after a while, The Last Driver is a great - and cheap - casual stress-reliever of a game.


 
The Last Driver
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 7 September 2012
A fun, if slightly repetitive, zombie-killing driving game with a Tyrannosaurus rex and UFO thrown in for good measure
 
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