Sometimes, to do what we want on the road, we must be aggressive drivers. That little nugget of wisdom rings equally true when dealing with disgusting mutants throwing themselves in front of your vehicle. Just gun ‘em down. Who cares? They’re mutants.
At least, that’s the attitude Glu Games’ Mutant Roadkill inspires as you careen down a post-apocalyptic highway lousy with disgusting zombie-like creatures. This fast-paced, freemium high-score game has a lot in common with the extremely similar indie hit Zombie Highway, as we noted in our E3 preview, and it relies on a few improvements to help it stand on its own. Unfortunately, we weren’t as impressed with Mutant Roadkill.
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From the start, you’re thrown straight into the action– a car bursts through a billboard (the loading screen you were looking at previously) and careens down a highway that’s littered with mutants who like to jump on the car and tag along for a ride. When you’re not mowing down the shamblers who stumble in your way, you’re clipping obstacles to get them off of your car.
Rack up a chain of roadkill mutants and you’ll fill your combo meter. Perform well enough and you’ll complete in-game rewards, akin to achievements, which grant you randomly-assigned power-ups like turbo speed, turrets, gold, and other bonuses that should keep you afloat when you’ve thoroughly destroyed your car and need to start a new run.
Unfortunately, each run isn’t exactly smooth sailing. At various points, you’ll be asked to swipe briefly onscreen to change directions, like in Temple Run. This didn’t feel as fluid as it could have, and it didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose beyond slowing down an otherwise frenetic race through each area.
In addition, when you’re first starting out, the boost pickup goes by far too quickly to have any real benefit. Though it lets you plow through the wreckage easily enough, it also makes it very difficult to control your vehicle. The boost also appears to slow down the gameplay a bit, and we tested it on two different devices. Without the boost activated, the controls are fun and easy to learn. It’s very simple to jump right in and start playing without any fanfare, making Mutant Roadkill great for a quick download for players with little gaming experience.
Other power-ups are quite useful, such as the turret, which allows you to nail mutants zig-zagging through the maps, as well as the electro-shock and other guns that can double your mutant-slaying productivity. The rewards that are unlocked by performing feats in normal play are a nice addition as well. These will encourage you to beat your previous records and accomplishments in the hopes of opening a chest with a power-up, or more currency to purchase an upgraded ride.
The visuals are rendered in a cel-shaded style and look decent, but it felt as though more work could have been done on the mutant designs and the voiceovers, which will repeat often and begin to grate on your nerves. Granted, Mutant Roadkill is a free app, but it looks and feels a bit cheap as well.
When all is said and done, there just isn’t much to Mutant Roadkill. You tilt your iOS device, run over mutants, and repeat. Coupled with some irritating stuttering onscreen and the seemingly unnecessary swipe mechanics, however, it doesn’t rise to become something greater.
Mutant Roadkill seems to stagnate and hover around the line of mediocrity. With a few improvements and perhaps additional content releases in the future, it may improve, but right now it’s idling a little bit too much for it to be enjoyable. We’d love to see it improved further.