by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Just like a Japanese game show
When I first heard the title Dollar Dash, my mind immediately raced to some weird game show (possibly one of those crazy Japanese ones) where contestants had to run around collecting floating dollar notes in a vacuumed glass enclosure. And come to think of it, Dollar Dash isn’t much different from that as players race around the screen collecting as much cash as they can before the other contestants (in this case, thieves) can reach the goal.
Tango and Cash
Dollar Dash is a multiplayer only game. Games consist of one of three different modes, the main one being the Dollar Dash mode. In Dollar Dash, participants are tasked with collecting and depositing as much as they can until they (or someone else) reaches the end goal. As mentioned, it is not simply a matter of collecting as much as you can, but being able to transport the cash to the drop-off point. Along the way, others can ‘steal’ the cash you’ve collected from you, so careful use of weapons and power-ups is required.
The second mode entitled Hit ’n’ Run doesn’t even require combatants to collect any cash at all. Instead, gamers are tasked with using the weapons and power-ups on offer to injure knock down their opponents. Each knock-down earns the ‘killer’ points towards the goal. The first player to reach the goal is the winner.
The third mode, Save the Safe plays out much the same way as a capture the flag game, requiring the gamer to first collect the safe and then hold onto it whilst other competitors try and take it off you. The longer you hold onto the safe, the more you score.
Prior to each contest, gamers can spend their previous winnings on items from the shop. They can use their cash to purchase various upgrades and perks as well as items such as taunts and hats that customise their avatars. The upgrades and perks help in game, but the customisations do not have any impact on games and player performance, so there is really little need to splurge on these items. Indeed, from the top-down perspective of the game and the speed at which games play, it is really hard to notice the differences from one player to the next.
Bonnie and Clyde
All the maps are quite small, so as to keep all the thieves on the same screen at once, but they certainly offer some variety to the gameplay and require different strategies to win. Some maps have cash scattered around the map from the start, whilst other maps appear devoid of dollars until it falls off the back of a passing truck. Other maps also have competitors starting together whilst some maps have them starting from different corners of the map. Then there are the maps that not only have the four foes, but also contain security guards who roam the maps or fire weapons from hidden locations. These security guards will send gamers back to the spawn point and strip them of their not-so-hard earned cash.
Controls are quite simple, with two options available to gamers. Keyboard and mouse was, for me anyway, the easier of the two options. The keyboard controls the movement and the power-ups whilst the mouse controls the weapons (primary and secondary). A gamepad can also be used to play Dollar Dash, and works like you would expect, having the d-pad control the movement and the function buttons control the weapons and power-ups. I had an issue with configuring my gamepad, but it worked okay, although aiming and shooting the weapons was not nearly as efficient as the mouse. As such, after trying out the gamepad a couple of times, I switched back to the keyboard/mouse combination.
The cartoon style visuals are colourful and cute and work well with the comical nature of the game, but they seem somewhat dated. There is a definite retro feel to the visuals, starting from the top-down visual style to the icons representing the cash, weapons and power-ups. As mentioned, the maps are on the small side. As are the characters, meaning that the visual customisations are quite obsolete in-game. All the other details - such as weapon and power-up icons - are clearly represented on screen though, making for an uncluttered interface.
So, the visuals have a retro look, the jazzy background music is kinda cool, there are some Worms-style comical weapons and although there are a number of different game modes and a range of maps to play, the gameplay is still pretty much the same for all. Yes, there are some adjustments in strategy required, but the mechanics remain the same the whole way through. It is for this reason that the novelty of the game soon wears off. This is further enhanced when it comes to the unpopulated servers, meaning that for the most part I was playing bots instead of real life competition. Hopefully this improves as people come to hear about Dollar Dash. I hope so, because beating a human opponent is much more fun.
Comical weapons and power-ups
Underpopulated servers mean you’ll be playing bots much of the time