Monster Dash

Monster Dash is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Monster Dash Review

Developers are constantly trying to ride the wave of success from others on the App Store. Monster Dash from Halfbrick Studios (of Fruit Ninja fame) seems to be doing just this for Canabalt. Monster Dash doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but we certainly enjoyed our time with the game.

Monster Dash is a simple, one-button, side-scrolling platformer where you jump across building tops and try to run as far as possible. An element of run-n-gun action adds a bit of a twist to the generic formula, giving survivor Barry Steakfries a shotgun to mow down monsters in his way. You die by either losing all your hearts or failing to jump to the next building.

They did the Dash! It was a graveyard smash!

Some other interesting things about Monster Dash are the spikes that you have to jump over, and the fact that you can hop on monsters, Mario-style. After running a certain distance, Barry is transported to one of four different monster worlds, ranging from a zombie-infested city to a castle full of Dracula’s offspring. The only real difference is in the visuals, but the various backgrounds do help hold your interest.

The weapons are easily the most exciting part of Monster Dash. You’ll occasionally come across a weapons box that nets you a special weapon with limited ammo. These can be quite insane. For example, the machine gun jetpack shoots you into the air, with a trail of bullets laying waste to everything below. Some others include an electric shockwave and pistol shot that rips straight through every enemy in its path.

Great weapon? Or the greatest weapon?

OpenFeint leaderboards and achievements help add to the replay value. A nice feature is that you’ll pass by a billboard touting your highest score when you surpass it. We’d love to see this feature expanded to the top scores of your OpenFeint friends as well.

In-depth statistics are also tracked and can be fun to look at every once in a while. After all, who doesn’t love to see which monster they mowed down the most?

A small detail that we thought was interesting was that the main menu screen is interactive. You can tap the monsters walking back and forth to watch them explode. We can’t help but think this could make for a fun castle defense minigame someday.

If you aren’t already a fan of these one-button casual titles, Monster Dash isn’t going to change that for you. But if you like Canabalt, you should give Monster Dash a try.

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Monster Dash Hands-On Preview

Looking back at our meeting with Halfbrick Studios at GDC in March, we couldn’t predict the huge success that was coming their way. At the time, Halfbrick had just released Blast Off, an unimpressive physics game that only once broke the Top 100. They were also working on something new to be released a month later: a little game called Fruit Ninja. One million downloads of Fruit Ninja later, and we’re paying much closer attention to what comes next from Halfbrick. This time, it’s a game called Monster Dash.

There’s no denying Halfbrick is on a roll, and Monster Dash is an interesting follow-up for the Australian developer. Monster Dash is a high-score running game like Canabalt, but with a combative twist that makes it a little more interactive. As you run through the auto-scrolling levels, tapping the left side of the screen to jump over gaps and spikes, you’ll also encounter some classic movie monsters.

These include mummies in the Egypt level, vampires in the Transylvania level, zombies in the Metropolis level, and so on. You can either jump on an enemy to crush it, or tap the right side of the screen to fire a shotgun. You’ll also find weapon powerups, like an electricity gun or a sweet machine gun jetpack that perforates anything on the ground while you hover above.

Like in Fruit Ninja, you can take three hits before the game is over (though falling means instant death), so games can actually last a bit longer than in Canabalt. Every 1000 meters, your character will teleport to a different location with new monsters, but he still always seems to be in a hurry.

Also like in Fruit Ninja, you’re rewarded with a pithy quotation when you lose, which takes the sting out a little, and stats will record the minutiae of your collected runs. OpenFeint achievements are also included.

Will Monster Dash replicate the astonishing success of perpetual Top 10 Fruit Ninja? We’re not sure, since both high-score running games and monster shoot ‘˜em ups are pretty common on the App Store. But Monster Dash is a fun pick up and play game with cute graphics, a simple concept, and tight controls, so we’ll have to wait and see if lightning strikes twice for Halfbrick.