Even after the zombie apocalypse turns our roads to rubble, it’s still important to review some basic rules of safe driving. First, don’t bother with the brakes or gas, because you’re going to be cruising at a steady pace. Second, don’t pick up any hitchhikers, and if you do, be sure to knock them off the side of your car before they flip you over.
Zombie Highway: Driver’s Ed is a new game based on the original Zombie Highway, but it falls a bit short of a full sequel. Instead, it’s a spin-off designed to keep gamers interested until Zombie Highway 2 launches next year. When you first get behind the wheel, you’ll notice new “slalom” segments that encourage you to weave around blocks in a certain order, which takes a lot more practice than the freestyle sections.
Another key differences between Driver’s Ed and the original Zombie Highway is that this game doesn’t have any firearms in it– you’ll mainly have to rely on your driving skills to scrape zombies off your car. But even without the original game’s full arsenal, you’ll have some weaponry on your side.
Early in the game, you’ll be able to unlock The Popper, a remote control that detonates the explosives conveniently secured to each zombie’s neck. If you find yourself overwhelmed by zombies, you can just tap the screen to make them explode. This is also a good way to keep your combo going, if you’re too far between barriers when your combo timer starts to wind down.
Trading weapons for a limited-use explosive isn’t a great deal, but the added challenges in Driver’s Ed help make up for the lack of firepower. Like in Tiny Wings or Jetpack Joyride, you’ll be able to check off achievements for distance traveled, numbers of zombies squashed, and other milestones.
Completing these objectives will earn you extra cash, which you can use to upgrade your rig. Your vehicle won’t reach Earn to Die-levels of anti-zombie absurdity (there’s no school bus with a cow catcher, for example), but you will be able to improve the handling and acceleration through these expensive upgrades.
Speaking of expenses, while you can earn in-game cash by replaying the game, there’s also the option to purchase in-game cash outright or double it in each run by paying for it with real money. Even if you don’t choose to take this shortcut, we still had fun slowly racking up kills and cash on the road.
Zombie Highway: Driver’s Ed represents just a few of the enhancements planned for next year’s full sequel. The official-looking “Department for Extermination of Apocalyptic Disease” seal painted on the ground at your base also seems to indicate a deeper storyline planned for future games.
Zombie Highway started the series with a basic, but highly replayable concept. Driver’s Ed is a few steps closer towards a fully-featured game, but we’ll have to wait for next year’s sequel to get the full experience. You’ll be able to download Zombie Highway: Driver’s Ed on September 5 for $.99.