R.I.P. Rally on iOS has great bones, but suffers where it counts

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Earlier this month, we brought you a preview of Chillingo's R.I.P. Rally, the developer / publisher's latest iOS offering in the zombie genre that sees you driving a variety of vehicles around maps killing waves of zombies. Now that we've had a chance to go hands-on with the final product, we've found that this one has a great premise, but it's plagued by a skewed economy and early sense of difficulty.

R.I.P. Rally starts players with a single muscle car, equipped with a roof-mountain machine gun, and sets players loose in one of two maps, an arena setting and a desert cliffside. The car is incredibly weak, able to take just a small amount of damage before blowing up, and the machine gun fires bullets in spurts, allowing zombies to get a bit too close for comfort before eventually mowing them down.

Controlling each vehicle (including buses and trucks) with the virtual joysticks actually works rather well, even on the iPhone's small screen. The cars are fairly responsive to movement, and you have fairly fine-tuned control over the spread of your bullets depending on the angle in which you slide your finger across that particular virtual stick.

R.I.P. Rally on iOS
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R.I.P. Rally on iOS has great bones, but suffers where it counts

Of course, the weakness of your car and your bullets is still a huge factor, as zombies can quickly overwhelm players from all directions. While driving over zombies can and will kill large groups at once, unless you're equipped with defensive barriers, you'll destroy your car at the same time. Falling off of cliffs, missing jumps, or even being hit by explosive zombies will just as quickly end your game, making R.I.P. Rally feel more than a bit unfair for beginning players.

You'll earn just a bit of cash in each game, allowing you to purchase upgrades for your current vehicles and weapons, and eventually unlock new guns for your vehicles like shotguns, grenade launchers and (eventually) even gatling guns and rocket launchers. Of course, these items are incredibly expensive, and it's really hard to earn cash in bulk with just a weak muscle car with poor defenses. It's true that you can spend your cash on defenses for your vehicles, but it takes a ton of failed attempts at games to even earn enough cash for that.

With the starting muscle car, it's unlikely that many players will routinely make it past level four or five without failing. Even if your driving capabilities allow you to steer clear of melee damage from the zombies, your guns have limited ammo and you'll waste precious time scouring the map for randomly appearing refills. Exploding zombies, as we said, can destroy your car even if you shoot them to kill them, as their explosive radius often means you get hit in the process. The game's defenses are overly expensive and really encourage the spending of real money, and any additional vehicles (which obviously perform better in some ways) are even more expensive than most everything else.

We can't blame Chillingo for trying to make money on R.I.P. Rally, given the fact that the game's free to download and play (supported by ads and lengthy loading screens), but the economy and initial game difficulty make the experience seem overly skewed against the player. If you're willing to shell out some money in the game, you can outfit your car with plenty of goodies and have a grand old time slaying hundreds or even thousands of zombies over time. Everyone else, however, should be prepared for a long, slow grind, until they can actually afford anything good for free.

Download R.I.P. Rally on iOS >

Have you tried R.I.P. Rally? What do you think of this survival-focused shooter on iOS? Sound off in the comments!
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