Updated: Monster Dash Review

Monster Dash just got an update with a gnarly chopper: the “Badass Hog.” Once you come across a gift box, Barry will put the petal to the metal and become invincible, crushing any spikes or monsters in your way. You can still fire the shotgun while riding if that’s your kind of thing.

The update also brings some other small changes, such as making extra hearts easier to reach. We’ve kept coming back to the game since it launched and the hot new ride has kept the fuel in our engines.

With so many games being released every day for the iPhone, it’s a rare gem that can keep us coming back for weeks or months after it’s released. Monster Dash is one of them. The steady flow of content updates continues to keep the game feeling fresh.

In the latest update, Halfbrick Studios added a new environment, Yeti Heights, with a new enemy– you guessed it, a yeti. While not drastically different from other environments already present in the game, in this one yetis crawl up the cliff, and there is snow falling all around you.

Another addition is the rocket launcher, which locks onto enemies and causes slight splash damage. One of Monster Dash’s best traits is how fun the artillery is to use, and this is no exception.

Lastly, Monster Dash now has Game Center integration. When you open the app you’ll be prompted to either keep using OpenFeint or switch over to Game Center. While it splits scores, we like to see developers continue to include Game Center.

Monster Dash’s continuous stream of support and the lasting value of the game bring us to raise the score to a 4. It surpasses most side-scrolling runners in style and pure entertainment value.

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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