Earn 2 Die is a unique racing game that takes the usual 2D fuel-based driving gameplay and throws zombies into the mix.
The game features fully-voiced cutscenes that establish the zombie-apocalypse setting as soon as you begin playing, and your goal is to drive heavily customizable vehicles to the finishing line of each level.
It’s easier said than done, however, because your fuel runs out very fast and you can only hit a checkpoint every time you approach a gas station.
So, what happens when you have a unique approach but execute it with a repetitive structure? We're about to find out.
The gameplay of Earn 2 Die is very simple.
In the beginning, you only have buttons that let you control movement and acceleration.
But as you buy more upgrades for your car, you unlock a few additional buttons such as the rocket booster.
And so if you then go with high speed at certain ramps you can make a jump in which you can pull off some stunts – but for some reason, this is one of the few games in the genre that does not reward you for it.
The main goal of each level is to drive for as long as your fuel permits, and then you will find yourself in need of constantly upgrading your car in order to go further.
Upgrades become more costly as you buy them and you will often find yourself replaying levels or watching ads just to get to the very first checkpoint. It takes a while to reach the gas stations and that makes a full level very long in general.
The gameplay design is extremely repetitive and demands a generous amount of grind from players if they wish to go anywhere with the game’s story and level progression.
The game is pretty easy to play and it’s really fun driving and smashing through zombies and other objects – so the repetition takes a long time before it gets to you. But once it does, you will either have to spend real-life money or just play the game less frequently.
Earn 2 Die is fairly generous with the money it gives you early on, but then it automatically moves you to the next car as soon as you complete a level and they don’t go as far as your previously upgraded vehicle did. And the upgrades for the new car cost considerably more as well, which is unfair as not only do you lose your previous upgrades from the old vehicle but it would take you double the time to buy the new ones.
The graphics of Earn 2 Die are pretty good and there's a lot of detail in the cars, objects, surfaces, and background imagery.
The animation is excellent and crisp to witness, and I love how cutting through zombies and explosive barrels plays out.
The UI is professional in appearance and all the menus are self-explanatory for the most part. The only complaint I have here is a nitpicking one, as the game does not tell you pressing the ‘Garage’ button on the map is what lets you start a mission.
The physics function surprisingly well and that’s one of the reasons the game is fun to play.
The sound design is pretty decent and there are some nice background tunes. However, the variety is a bit on the low end and for a game that makes you replay every level so often – it can get difficult to listen to. Thankfully, the sound effects are pretty good and will keep you engaged nonetheless.
It’s difficult to give Earn 2 Die a rating because it is a divisive experience.
On one hand, I absolutely love the gameplay and almost felt addicted to it, but on the other hand, even if you ignore its general repetition – it has too many other things that make it worse:
Such as your car losing its back half and the engine breaking down, these are things that happen at random and are mostly unavoidable at times. And if you’re trying to go for a finishing win at a level after grinding so hard, it’s frustrating to lose because of a random aspect like this.
Those elements are fun at first but it becomes tedious fast.
Not to mention most of the extra modes are locked until you beat the rather lengthy main campaign and you cannot use the cars of your choice on your first run.
There’s a very fun idea in Earn 2 Die that has the potential to be an amazing mobile game, but a purposefully repetitive structure immensely holds it back.