Serving as a prequel to the Zombie Highway 2, Auxbrain, Inc. has released Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed. Driver's Ed acts to bridge the gap and display a sense of change and growth since Auxbrain's debut title came out a few years ago. Driver's Ed has us upgrading our OJ getaway car and getting zombies off of our car the hard way, by ramming them into walls. Is Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed good practice before hitting the next highway? Or should we keep this endless undead racer in the garage?

Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed is simply a training course to get you ready for Zombie Highway 2. In truth, it is a bare-bones version of the first Zombie Highway (no guns and no cars on the road), with a few graphical improvements. Driver's Ed boasts of its original and interactive 3D menu. But with all differences between Driver's Ed and the original Zombie Highway aside, does this title encourage you to keep hitting the road?

The truth is, Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed sacrifices the gameplay variety of the original title for the sake of smoother graphics. With three years under their belt, I would think that Auxbrain would have expanded on its gameplay instead of crippling it. The premise of Zombie Highway is still the same: drive down a barren highway, zombies jump onto your car, and you gotta scrape them off the sides of your vehicle using debris on the roadway. Gone are the variety of weapons found in the original title (Auxbrain stated that they will all be returning in Zombie Highway 2). Instead, there is nitro and insta-kill buttons added to the game as you increase your level. Regular zombies, red zombies and fat zombies all still intend to flip your car (instant death), and you still die if your front end hits the debris you're trying to use to sideswipe zombies into. So what's the point of Driver's Ed?

The point to Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed is that there isn't one. It's supposed to just be practice for the official sequel. It costs a dollar and is a watered down version of the original using the graphics engine of the upcoming second title. You can't even change the color or appearance of your car. It's still a single road which you must repeatedly do over and over again with no variety or randomness as to its level design of the zombies and roadblocks. After a few tries, you will get quickly tired of this desert course and the tunnel that follows it. Tossing in nitro and the popper (insta-kills all 4 zombies on your car), doesn't really change anything.

Aesthetically, Driver's Ed does look substantially better when compared to the original, but it has been three years, of course it would look a little better. Its 3D menu does absolutely nothing except look pretty. The menu has some Borderlands-esque graphics, and its framerate is really smooth when you move the camera in the limited ways it can pan. But what is the point when the only thing you can do on the menu is start a run, check the garage, look up achievements or read the leaderboard? The design time spent into making the main menu nice and pretty could have been spent on more zombie models, visually changing your car, adding variety to the road, etc. Cutting down the variety of the original and improving the graphics don't really change much when Driver's Ed plays just sluggish and annoyingly as the original title.

I cannot conclude this review without stating my utter hated for gyroscopic controls, and Driver's Ed still does not give you the option of manually steering your car with on-screen controls (or any options for that matter). Even though I have encountered numerous iOS titles that have forced me into using gyroscopic controls, Driver's Ed's are the worst. The lack of manual controls, heck even the lack of altering the sensitivity of the gyroscopic controls, were quite infuriating. Though they did not prevent me from effectively driving along the raceway (notice the singular form of the word), I felt that the controls were a large hindrance from the beginning. Once you're actually on the road, Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed is the same thing over and over again with not enough variety or content thrown in to constitute its cost, even if it is just a dollar.

There must be some sort of randomization option for the obstacles and some variety added in to the level design of the next title. Driver's Ed should have been the free-to-play or demo version of Zombie Highway 2, Honestly, I would much rather play the original title over Driver's Ed, and they each cost a buck. I would only recommend Driver's Ed to addicts of the original, but given there aren't any major high-end upgrades to grind for (reaching max upgrades didn't take that long), or any cosmetic options for your car at all, there is hardly any incentive to keep playing Driver's Ed except for what its named after: practicing for the real thing.


App Store Link: Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed for iPhone & iPad | By Auxbrain, Inc. | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 140 MB | Rating: 9+

4.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating