Mutant Roadkill screeched into Google Play earlier this month as an unabashed homage to Temple Run with a few significant twists. Instead of being chased, you're the one chasing, and you're running over radioactive zombies in a gritty post-apocalyptic world.
Players mount up in a car and steer by tilting the device to the left or right in order to dodge debris littering the streets and nail shambling mutants. Some will be a bit more aggressive, and require players to scrape them off the side of their car by skimming walls, or rely on the odd power-up to clear the way. Players earn cash based on how long they survive without crashing, how many mutants they hit (earning bonus points for consecutive kills), and how many challenges they manage to complete. That coin can be used to buy new vehicles, improve power-ups, and purchase consumables. A premium currency can be bought through IAPs in order to access the particularly good stuff.
Gameplay and controls
Mutant Roadkill uses tilt controls to get around, which immediately sets it apart from Temple Run, which mostly relied on swipes and taps (though it does have some tilt elements too). Steering around ruined cars can be really hard in the starter car, so start saving up for your a new vehicle early on rather than spending coins on power-ups. My only real qualm with the controls is that the tilt sensor doesn't work so well when your device is flat on its back. That means you need to play it holding at 45 degrees or more, which isn't always comfortable.
Progression is decent, and can be supplemented by in-app purchases. There isn't a huge variety of cars to buy, and the ones that are available are fairly expensive. Two of the five unlockable vehicles require in-app purchases, which cuts down options even further. Customization is unfortunately limited to only the power-ups; it would be great to be able to spend coins to improve handling, or kit out your ride with an utterly extraneous spoiler. The challenges each level add a respectable amount of depth to the game's goals other than "last as long as you can", though it takes some practice before you're comfortable enough to focus on them.
Graphics and audio
Mutant Roadkill's graphics are highly polished. The models are rich, textures detailed, and the cel-shaded style makes the game quickly stand out. There are plenty of effects to enjoy between your ride catching on fire, dust trails, shadows, and the occasional bit of gunplay. Even the user interface is smooth and transitions seamlessly into gameplay.
For all of its visual style, there are quite a few dampers. For one, just about every run has a pop-up ad. Often they'll toss one at you just for opening the game. Secondly, you're pestered to spend coins or pick up in-app purchases on just about every screen. Third, there are banner ads everywhere, usually for other Glu games. Lastly, Glu Mobile's social network features prominently on every scoreboard and the title screen with notifications of news you never had any interest in following.
Aside from that, the audio is high-quality, and hosts a raucous soundtrack appropriate for post-apocalyptic joyrides.
- Great graphics
- Familiar but fresh gameplay
- Pushy IAPs
- Annoying ads
It's a shame that great graphics and gameplay can be mostly ruined by an obnoxious ad and IAP model. I don't mind premium upgrades, even in a paid version of a game, but it doesn't have to prod me to spend after every run. The constant barrage of pop-up and banner ads certainly doesn't help.
If you have a thick skin for the things devs do to make a buck and are into the idea of a hillybilly cruising through a shattered post-apocalyptic wasteland, Mutant Roadkill is an over-the-top vehicular slaughterfest that you're bound to enjoy. Anyone else will be too busy closing ads to enjoy the game.
Download: Mutant Roadkill (Free, IAPs, ads)