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Quick Look: Monster Dash for iPhone

I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about Halfbrick Studios’ new game, so I decided to split my regular Thomas self into “Tom” and “Ash” and held an awkward Q&A between the two halves to find out what I really thought:

Tom: What’s the name of that game that features Barry Steakfries jumping from rooftop to rooftop and emptying buckshot into demons, vampires, and mummies?
Ash: That’d be Monster Dash.

Tom: Having played other similar titles like Canabalt and Chop Chop Runner, how does Monster Dash compare?
Ash: Well, despite the different look and style, Monster Dash is still that “running platformer” that we’re all pretty familiar with. One slight twist is that you have a bit of HP now. Sheer drops off the level will still kill you, but you can bump into monsters or obstacles up to three times before you die.

Otherwise Barry is always running from left to right, and it’s your job to tell him when to jump, how high to jump, and when to fill an enemy with buckshot.  Well I’m not entirely sure it’s buckshot, but Barry is carrying a shotgun loaded with something that monsters find painful.

Each monster dies in a different way, but they all act the same. It doesn’t get too old, though, because of the weapon pick-ups. I especially liked the machine gun jetpack.

Tom: Right. That would be a jetpack that allows you to fly and then a machine gun to shoot at enemies?
Ash: Not really — the machine gun jetpack is literally a machine gun with recoil that’s so powerful it pushes you upwards. Barry sees fit to strap this machine gun to his back when he picks it up, so pressing the “fire” button will actually cause you to hover AND fire bullets downwards. It’s a new take on Death From Above, but it can also get you killed if you’re not careful.

Tom: Speaking of getting killed — what happens when you die? Is it the standard “you traveled x meters, now play again and beat your high score”?
Ash: Well, there’s also the standard OpenFeint integration, but that is pretty much it. Oh, and there are achievements to earn for killing different enemies, using different weapons, and dying in a specific or spectacular fashion. I just wish that the game told you about how to gain certain achievements, though. Some people get hooked on completing all available achievements and Monster Dash doesn’t tell you exactly what needs to be done.

Tom: Now aside from the gunplay, are there any other aspects of the game that really stand out?
Ash: Well, Barry gets teleported to a new level every time he makes runs 1000m, and these new levels feature different skins for enemies and slightly different environments. It also means that you, as a player, get a very literal break every kilometer you run, since teleporting acts a bit of a pause. It’s a nice little twist, and I like it.

Tom: Okay. Last question. If you were writing a review and had to sum up Monster Dash for prospective dashers, what would you say? Is it worth the $0.99?
Ash: If you’re into this kind of high speed, high-scoring gameplay, then yes. There’s always another score to beat or another achievement to earn in Monster Dash, and the game has been very lovingly crafted. It’s a simple premise that you’ve seen before, but the little touches do enough to distinguish it from the competition. However, if you’ve played games like Canabalt and Chop Chop Runner before, you likely won’t find much in Monster Dash.

Tom: Anything else to add before you stop talking to yourself?
Ash: No, no, I’m about done. I really need to get out more.

Monster Dash was provided by Halfbrick Studios for review on Just Another iPhone Blog. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

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