Dollar Dash review (XBLA)
Dollar Dash was developed by Candygun Games and published by Kalypso Media. It was released on March 6, 2013 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Every once in a while, a game comes along with a concept so brilliant you can’t believe no one’s thought of it before. Taking the idea of competitive thievery and applying a fun, cartoonish art style, Dollar Dash from Candygun Games and Kalypso Media seeks to offer a fresh twist on classic arcade gameplay.
Dollar Dash is a top-down action game pitting four thieves against each other in three different game modes with one simple goal: steal everything in sight. You’ll accomplish this task by running, shooting, laying traps, and creating all kinds of general mayhem to grab as much cash as possible and prevent your opponents from doing the same. Built primarily as a multiplayer game, Dollar Dash has no traditional single-player component, but offers four-player competitive modes both locally and over Xbox Live.
Here’s what we liked:
Modern thievery – The framework of unlockables surrounding Dollar Dash‘s gameplay has become increasingly common in multiplayer shooters, but its application here is unique. These upgrades range from the purely cosmetic to weapon or ability enhancements. This kind of progression system seems to be ingrained in the future of gaming, so it’s refreshing to see it applied to a new genre.
It’s a steal – Dollar Dash eschews the typical 1200 MSP price point of new release Xbox Live Arcade games in favor of the more modest 800 MSP. This lower price point could be vital in drawing in a large player base, which is key for a multiplayer-focused title like this one. AI bots are included, but that’s not nearly as much fun as playing with real people, whether they be friends or strangers.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Chaos theory – Some games thrive on the mayhem and madness of multiplayer. Dollar Dash isn’t one of them. Instead of feeling frantic and fun, the chaotic nature of the gameplay will leave you feeling resigned to what’s happening on screen. You never quite feel in control of any given situation, and just when you think you have a lock on the round, a seemingly random event can grab the win out of your hands.
Nothing really matters – Despite the dozens of items available in the Dollar Dash shop, none of them have a strong impact on gameplay. Only one upgrade and one perk can be applied at a time, and with the huge variety of items and situations that can come up in the course of a round, it’s not often that your particular choices will have much affect on what’s happening at any given moment.
Time theft – In Dollar Dash, a round isn’t over until one person wins. Because the tide of battle can change so often, this can lead to excessively long rounds. With faster gameplay and the addition of a round timer, Dollar Dash might have succeeded in creating engaging, frenetic action, but instead the rounds drag on. On top of that, many of its upgrades would take hundreds of these prolonged matches to unlock, which is a time investment that most gamers will find better spent with something more exciting.
Dollar Dash offers an interesting premise, but there’s little else in this package to draw gamers in. The progression system is designed to keep you coming back for more, but with the lack of impactful upgrades and arduous time requirements to unlock them, there’s little incentive to revisit the game. Throw in the lack of satisfying action, and Dollar Dash is a dubious value proposition, even at its budget price.
Score: Skip It