The original Earn to Die by Not Doppler takes place during a zombie apocalypse. So does its sequel, Earn to Die 2. Friendships come and go, love is always over in the morning, but the zombie apocalypse is forever. And ever.
Fans of the first Earn to Die will experience déjà vu when they fire up Earn to Die 2. That’s not automatically a bad thing, though. Like its predecessor, Earn to Die 2 is frantic, fast, and full of zombie-splattering action, though scratching up enough money for upgrades is a repetitive process.
Earn to Die 2’s festivities begin on the west coast, where a survivor (you) learns of a ship waiting to take non-zombies to a safe island. Problem is, the ship is on the east coast and there are a lot of zombies between you and freedom. Solution: Build a vehicle capable of turning the undead into so many piles of mushy green goo.
Earn to Die 2 has more levels than the first game. Each set of stages starts you off in a putt-putt incapable of getting far. But as you attempt the same runs over and over and rack up a body count, you also earn cash. Who uses cash in a post-apocalyptic environment? And where is this cash even coming from? The answers are obviously “who knows” and “from the zombies’ pockets, duh.”
At the end of each run, you’re given the chance to use your acquired cash on vehicle upgrades. Upgrades include greater fuel capacity (for longer drives), better tires (for improved uphill driving), armor (to protect your engine from damage), weapons (to zap zombies before they have a chance to get themselves all wrapped up in your carburetor) and more. When your car is tricked out to the max, you practically glide across the ruined landscape as you smash into waves of zombies and deliver unto them their second deaths. It’s kind of amazing.
Problem is, building yourself up to the Avenging Angel of Mercy stage takes a lot of time, and a lot of repeated trips across familiar levels. Mind, there are definitely devices in place to keep Earn to Die 2 from becoming unbearable: Levels are multi-tiered and full of secret passages and highways. Discovering these shorter routes keeps things interesting, at least for a while.
Unfortunately, when you move on to a new level, you have to abandon the car you’ve invested so much time, money, and love into. There’s no more flying across the landscape while shredding zombies with the buzzsaw blade mounted on your hood. It’s back to four wheels on the ground and a modest pace suitable for a Sunday drive. It hurts.
Regardless, there’s no denying Earn to Die 2 is still tons of zombie-smashing fun. Even if driving through the same level over and over gets a bit tiresome after a while, flinging zombies for miles with the aid of your car never gets old.