Endless runners. A sub-genre of 2-D side-scrolling platformers, I guess. And one of those very specific game-types that have found a home on mobile. It is a type that I usually do not care for. The typical problem for me is the cycle time in-between runs that it takes to get back into a run. If that time is more than a few seconds, it kills the immersion for me. Fortunately, that is not a problem for Extreme Road Trip 2.
ERT2 is a take on the endless runner where you drive a car from left to right over hilly terrain. You pull off stunts during jumps (limited to forward and backflips), scoring points for the type of landing and for the number of flips you get in on a jump, as well as airtime. You can earn powerups from a run which you can then activate in a subsequent trial. The powerups are interesting: boost makes you start the run with a hyper-accelerated speed increase, the bonus coin multiplier makes you earn more coins when they are collected or for pulling off stunts, and the magnet power-up makes you attract all pick-ups on the level wherever you are on the board. Boost is the most risky power-up to use because it does not necessarily make the level easier. The challenge to ERT2 is in keeping the vehicle stable through landings. When you land with too much bounce, it upsets the vehicle and can lead to an untimely crash. Boost radically increases the amount by which your car can become unsettled in a landing, so use it at your own risk.
This title mixes in two elements that keep me engaged for more time than I might normally spend in an endless runner. First, as I alluded to in the opening, the time between runs is incredibly short. That keeps me from spinning down after a crash before I can get into the next run, which helps keep me engaged rather than thinking about going to do something else. Second, the small elements of car upgrades and collecting additional vehicles appeals to my racing game rooots and makes me a bit obsessed about upgrading every vehicle and obtaining each vehicle. Pretty easy recipe, huh?
Controls are simple touch left and right for car rotation in the air. There are games like this that force you to use tilt, which is disorienting and headache-inducing, so I was glad to see a different approach here. You are not going to find world-class graphics here, but the gameplay is very solid as far as endless runners go. The title, which comes from developer Roofdog Games, is free on the Google Play Store, and has a review rating of 4.3 out 5.0 on 141,966 reviews. It has in-app purchases, but I have not spent anything yet and still get loads of fun out of it, easily spending 30 minutes or more at a time with it.