You know, when you sit down and think about how much video games have advanced technologically and narratively over the years, it really is quite staggering. Sure, games with fully formed stories have been around for a long time (and some were arguably better than games today), but there is still a place for arcade-style simplicity. Kalypso Media is aiming directly for this niche with Dollar Dash, its newest multiplayer ‘grab and dash’ title.
Dollar Dash doesn’t offer much in terms of complex gameplay. In many ways, it feels like something you would have found back in an arcade in the 1980s — right next to the guy offering to sell you some hash. It’s a four-player game which is all about screwing over your opponents using weapons with varying degrees of effectiveness, silliness, and chaos. It goes for a retro aesthetic with its stripey-shirt and masked thieves, as well as its jazzy soundtrack, which is a good stylistic choice as it accentuates the game’s old-school arcade appeal.
There are three modes in the demo:
-Dollar Dash: Collect money and secure it into trucks before your opponent(s). Whomever gets the set amount wins the round.
-Hit and Run: This is a straight-up combat mode. There’s no money to collect, but you’re all on the roof of a skyscraper with a bunch of weapons. You need to knock the others off. It’s essentially the Super Smash Bros. mode.
-Save the Safe: You’re in a Smash TV-type arena, and the object is to pick up and carry the safe while avoiding opponents and traps. Whomever holds it for the overall longest time wins.
Dollar Dash is easily the most fun of the three, as it allows for some strategy on the part of the player. Hit and Run is more of a button masher and Save the Safe was nothing more than ‘keepaway’. The latter two modes didn’t feel any different no matter how many times I played them, and frankly I got bored pretty quick.
Players have the option of making in-game purchases to procure upgrades, costumes, and taunts. Aside from the upgrades and perks, the purchases are purely cosmetic, but I guess some people are into that sort of thing.
Overall, Dollar Dash is a pretty fun little game. It definitely has some fantastically fun elements and I can see it being a great party game with 3 friends. I can’t speak for the online multiplayer as it wasn’t enabled at this time, but the local seemed to work just fine. That’s a critical point as I’d go so far as to say that it will likely end up being the ideal play mode. Much like the aforementioned Super Smash Bros., this game is less an experience in and of itself than it is the background to a laugh-filled evening crowded around the TV.
There is no release date as yet for Dollar Dash, but it is slated to be released on PSN, XBox Live, and Steam by the end of 2012. You can check out their website here.