Mini Dash is a long in production and eagerly anticipated game from Pocket More Games, and my goodness it is great! With three huge worlds to navigate through, brilliant graphics, and the ability to have you hooked for hours, it makes for a fantastic iOS game.
Pros: Amazing graphics, hours upon hours of fun, brilliant characters, retro feel on bonus levels, truly addictive, level of detail well worth the cost.
Cons: On screen joypad is a little tricky to work with, takes time to unlock goods without paying more, could be labelled Super Meat Boy for iOS, may result in broken iPhone due to frustration!
When you first load up the game, you are treated to a small cinematic clip that is truly aesthetically pleasing. The clip gives you a quick background into the main character that you will play as in the game, and also an introduction into the great graphics that you will see throughout the game. Next you are taken to a screen from which you can choose to do a tutorial to learn the basic controls.
This tutorial, called ‘Basic Training’ takes you through the controls that you will use to move around the levels, and additionally gives you an option of whether you want to navigate your movement with the ‘accelerometer’ which you use by tilting your device in the direction you want to move, or the ‘on screen joystick’ which uses your left thumb as a control. I personally started with the on screen joystick, thinking it would make for a better game experience, but I think that this was a mistake, and quickly switched to the accelerometer. Though it really depends on you, the gamer, and what you think is easier to play with. It is great that there is a choice however, brilliant move Pocket More Games!
I’m not going to lie, after the first few levels, I felt a strange familiarity with the game, and suddenly thought that it strongly reminded me of Super Meat Boy due to the game controls, movement and sheer frustration at times. Though this was not a bad thing, and was a feeling quickly shaken due to the amount of unique and fresh ideas that are present in ‘Mini Dash’. One of the first things you notice are the brilliant graphics, and how each level has a new and fantastically designed layout. The level of detail that has been gone into is just fab, on each level, there are pieces of small, quirky graffiti lining the walls. Some, such as the phrase ‘hungry evil monster’ obviously points to the enemy that is snapping away behind you as you try to finish the mission, and the phrase ‘anger is not the solution’ crops up often, which honestly isn’t helpful, but rather funny. Others I honestly could not work out, aside from the few game references! But they certainly added intrigue to each level played.
The first five levels of Mini Dash are challenging, but deceivingly easy compared to the next three worlds of fast, fun packed adventure! With three worlds to complete and the choice to complete each world in easy, hard or both, there are plenty of hours of fun to be had! Be warned though, when they label the level as hard, they are not lying, some are just so frustrating! Though that is what makes the game great. As you advance, different obstacles, traps and hazards are thrown at you to challenge you and make the missions interesting. These include small floating black demons that follow your every move, just looking for you to pause so they can kill you, and lots of damned spikes and spinning blades, that never fail to get you! Plus with additions such as portals, water and slippery ice to levels make each mission unique and trickier than the last!
Whilst playing there are many objectives labelled ‘missions’ to be completed throughout the whole game, such as ‘Balloon Master’ which tells you to jump on fifty balloons, in reward for various amounts of mushrooms depending of difficulty. You can view the missions on a separate mission page. If the levels, traps, hazards and bonus characters and perks were not enough, we are rewarded with even more challenges to keep us playing and addicted! Pocket More Games have put a lot of time and detail into Mini Dash, and it shows.
The game is seriously addictive, so be warned, you can easily waste many an hour on it without even realizing. Even when you have died a shameful amount of times on a level, and have thrown your iPhone at the wall in frustration, you can not help but to continue with the game. This is what makes it great and well worth the money. Even when you have finally completed a level, you can not help go back and do it again, due to the score rating at the end, which rates you out of three for how long it takes you to do it. So for those competitive souls, expect to be going back again and again until you can do it in record time and get them coveted three crosses!
Within each level of Mini Dash is a bonus ‘Mushroom’ that can be used as a form of currency, to unlock new bonus characters and perks to aide your game. Though don’t think of collecting these mushrooms as an easy task, it is rather difficult on some levels, but that just makes you want to do it more. The bonus unlockable characters include a Demon, that is able to dash forward at great speed, Mr Jario (who looks a little like an Italian plumber you may be familiar with) who can float in the air as you hold the jump button, and Zombie Boy, who can invert gravity when he jumps. That’s not all of them either, there are plenty more to unlock as you play! Have extra mushrooms, why not unlock a bonus world with a fantastic retro feel, that has another nine extra levels for you to try your hand it. Truly terrible at collecting mushrooms, or just eager to try all the unlock-able content? Well then why not make an in-app purchase of a mushroom bundle, where you can buy 40, 100 or 800 mushrooms for you to redeem as you please. For a game with so many different features and twists, the small fee to buy more mushrooms does not seem expensive at all for what you are getting in the game.
Throughout the game, there are hilarious and clever references to past great games. For example, secret items are hidden throughout the game for you to collect, and one is the sheep from the much loved PC games, Worms. Billboards are placed within levels, again with game references, and one in particular is an advert for fruit that claims to be the ‘best fruit you can cut’, Fruit Ninja anyone? I won’t spoil any more, but it is a great little feature!
This game is truly addictive, fun and fast-paced, I can see many a group of friends getting competitive over who is doing best, or many a row about who’s go it is! Chillingo have excelled themselves. The detail is astounding, from the brilliant graphics to the small in game references to video game classics. All in all, it is a game worth playing, that you will be loving, hating and addicted to within minutes!