by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
We all have to do what we can to get by in these hard financial times. The characters in Dollar Dash have taken to a life of crime, stealing money and using violence to get away with it. It is a lot cuter than it sounds though, as colourful graphics and a Worms-esque array of wacky weapons are plentiful in this fun little multiplayer game. It is being developed by Candygun Games and publisher Kalypso is looking to release the game later this year.
I took a look at a preview code which contained most of the features that will be in the final game. The multiplayer will be the main focus of the game, but those features were not in this early version, so I got a feel for the gameplay against computer controlled opponents. The game takes place across thirty possible maps where you have a top down view of the action. The controls are simple, you can move around grabbing cash, and by running over icons on the ground you gain access to different abilities. At any one time, you can have one weapon equipped, one power up ability, and one defensive item which can be placed back on the ground which hinders your opponents in some way.
There are three game modes to choose from: Dollar Dash, Save the Safe and Hit ‘n’ Run. In Dollar Dash you compete against your opponents to collect cash on the ground by running over it, and deliver it to the getaway vehicle. Damaging your opponents causes them to drop a portion of the cash they are carrying meaning someone else can pick it up. The first player to deliver enough cash to the van wins. Save the Safe is a mode where each player must fight for control of the safe. When they have it, they must carry it round and protect it from everyone else who is trying to take it off them. The player who carries the safe for the set amount of time wins. The final game mode Hit ‘n’ Run is a simple deathmatch type mode where players earn cash for knocking out their opponents.
You get to keep all the cash you earn in each game whether you win or lose. This cash can be used in the game shop, where you can buy upgrades for your weapons, perks for your character and multiple customization options to make your thief stand out from the crowd. There are a wide variety of different hats and faces to choose from, and you can also buy different taunts and dances that your character can perform. The perks provide gameplay bonuses such as being able to move faster or the ability to take more damage before being knocked out. The other upgrades available grant things like increases to the range or damage of certain weapons.
It is the weapons that are the main draw of Dollar Dash. They are certainly not conventional either, as you will be hurling cacti at your opponents while they try and pelt you with snowballs. Some items such as the exploding eggs have splash damage so you can hit multiple enemies, while other items like the vacuum cleaner can suck up cash your enemies are carrying right into your bag. The defensive abilities range from simple timed bombs, to bear traps to oil slicks which can cause enemies to career helplessly off the edge of the map. Power ups are used to defend yourself and gain access to the money more easily. The boots help you run faster, meaning you can outrun your foes, while the jelly reflects your opponents attacks back at them for a short time. It all makes for a frantic multiplayer experience, which will certainly be enhanced when you are playing against other humans rather than the bots. When the final game is released, there will be online leaderboards where you can compete with your friends to see who is the best thief.
Dollar Dash is fast paced, and a whole lot of fun in short bursts, and if you can get four people playing on the same machine it will be even better. Finding all the crazy weaponry on offer, competing against each other on the leaderboards and upgrading your character will keep players coming back. It may not have the depth and addictive gameplay to bring in hardcore players, but it will certainly make for an enjoyable casual game among friends.