I'm spending the first part of this week in France working on judging for the International Mobile Gaming Awards, along with a whole crew of other app writers and professionals. As usually happens whenever a bunch of app fans get together, we've been talking about our favorite games, and even recommending new titles to each other. Touch Arcade's Eli Hodapp recommended Earn to Die to me, and since I picked it up, it's been very hard to put down.
The core game is a 2D driving physics title, similar to other monster truck and stunt car games, set in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland. The real draw is the progression system: Every drive you make earns you money, which can be used to upgrade and beef up your car. An improved vehicle lets you drive for longer and earn more money.
Each car has several potential upgrades (on everything from engines and wheels to anti-zombie weapons and even a boost system), so nearly every time you complete a run, you can head back into the garage and spend more money to make your car better.
The whole cycle is very addictive, and the scope of the game is huge. You'll start out with just a weak little buggy, and end the game a few hours later with a huge monster truck outfitted with all sorts of zombie-killing extras. Earn to Die is a fun, addictive time-waster. You can pick up the app for just US$0.99 on the iPhone, $2.99 on iPad or try out a free lite version on either platform.