Dollar Dash review

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Taking its cues from Bomberman, Dollar Dash is on paper at least a frantic top down party game catering for up to four players, online or off. Cell shaded graphics give a polished look and impressive lighting effects add extra gleam to the polish. The trouble begins when its pick up and play simplicity starts to get stale a few hours in.

Unlike Bomberman you are not hemmed in by blocks so there is no tension leading up to the inevitable clashing of players. In Dollar Dash the action starts the minute the alarm sounds at the beginning of the game. In the first of three game modes taking the game’s moniker Dollar Dash, players must collect as much loot as possible and deposit it into the back of getaway vans that appear periodically during the round. Easier said than done when three likeminded crooks are slinging everything at you such as fireworks, cactus plants, snowballs, giant boulders that flatten on impact through to small tactical nuclear missiles. In pure comedy fashion said missiles can be thwarted by defensive measures like the mighty Jelly Shield which literally bounces offensive weaponry away. Other defensive items that can be released with the secondary fire mode include time release bombs, oil slicks, firetraps and bear traps. As you can gather the name of the game is attack and shrinking violets will find no loot left in their sack as every hit deprives you of your hard stolen cash.

Hit and run is the weakest of the three modes as you are tasked with earning loot by thrashing it from the other players. The game mode suffers most from the simplistic gameplay, the test party spent the least amount of time with it preferring the main mode or the third – Save the Safe. Essentially capture the bag, the player that has held the safe for the longest wins. Queue much comedic jostling amongst players, attempting to eke out milliseconds handling the safe while three others hammer the living daylights out of the safecracker.

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Customise this.

Catering for customisation must have been a priority for Candygun Games as there are oodles of options to deck out your crook in theatrical style; everything from glasses and comedic hats, through to taunts and power ups that increase the carrying capacity of your sack, or protection of explosion damage from one’s own nuclear weapon. Thirty maps, all wonderfully designed with ten available from the off sweetens the deal further.

While the maps are a mix of open and obstacle cluttered and varied enough with it, the amount of loot you have is only indicative by how slow you move and how big the sack gets when filled. A clever visual indicator you would think but not knowing how much your carrying removes the risk reward gameplay that this genre thrives on.

That being said, party games are still the last bastion of gaming. If the internet collapsed tomorrow they would of course enjoy a revival (how to get the digitally distributed game would be another matter), but in an age of online gaming Dollar Dash has missed a key design flaw from the outset – no single player. Yes you can do a local game with bots, but a single player campaign would have been not just a much needed inclusion but one that would justify the 1200 MSP price point, especially as the fighting element with the comedic weapons and slapstick action overshadows the collecting of the loot. Collecting the loot almost becomes secondary when arming a nuclear weapon at the same time as avoiding an overzealous run of bear traps.

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Polished, but average…

In summary, Dollar Dash has many, many wonderful gameplay inclusions and on the surface great execution. But small and significant gameplay exclusions such as the omission of a single player campaign of any sort and the non evolving simplistic gameplay leads to a conclusion that at best, Dollar Dash will provide a gaggle of crooks on the sofa a good time for several hours and at worst it provides a good time for just a few hours before our gaggle of crooks move on to bigger fish. Had the price point been more generous, many more crooks would be happy to take a gamble on this polished, but ultimately average party game.

Game details

Title: Dollar Dash
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Available for: PC, Xbox 360
Developer: Candygun Games
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Strengths: Frantic, comedic fun.
Weaknesses: Simplistic gameplay. No single player.
Score: 5 out of 10
Score breakdown

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