At first glance, EA‘a Road Trippin’ is yet another freemium experience, full of silly time-delayed tasks and high-priced in-app purchases. Underneath its somewhat vanilla exterior, though, is a pretty good free game, full of educational tidbits and objectives to complete. It’s a perfect game for lovers of traveling, and those with children who just can’t learn enough about the different cities in the United States.
Road Trippin’ is very straightforward: drive across the country, earn stars for completing objectives, and find collectibles, all of which earn money, gas, and energy. Starting in Podunk Hollow and wandering slowly across the country, players can buy and upgrade different cars as they travel to new cities and complete different tourist activities, all completed with a single tap on the screen.
Once a task is completed, rewards like stars fall onto the screen to be collected with a single touch. Everything in the game boils down to singular taps on the screen, completely absent of variety when it comes to player interaction.
For the most part, Road Trippin’ is typical of freemium game that litter the App Store, but the educational opportunity sets it apart from its many counterparts.
It’s most like Gameloft’s recently released The Oregon Trail: American Settler (based a sequel to the originally intended for educational purposes The Oregon Trail which also popped onto the App Store recently) mixing the stop and start play of many social games, with just enough edutainment to make it worth the download. As usual the synchronistic big boys of iOS gaming are capitalizing best on current trends.
In each city there are multiple landmarks to visit, with a small bit of history and trivia about each spot. For example, Paul Bunyan is from Maine and makes a cameo appearance.
Road Trippin‘ is a rare example of a free game with useful educational potential, and gamers of any age who are interested in geography and different cities around the US. It’s simplistic, repetitive nature will bore some, but those familiar and accepting of the common tropes of fermium offering will find some real value in the interesting factoids gleaned on the path from Podunk Hollow to Los Angeles… just remember to get a car with a big gas tank!