Dollar Dash, a fast paced and chaotic multiplayer downloadable title from Kalypso games, that I have to say after speding my time with isn’t something that you should spend your real life, hard earned coin on. While it strives to be the new and improved Bomberman of the Xbox LIVE Arcade it falls short of its goal by a long shot and ultimately might be better suited as an iOS title. At a price point of 800 MS points (or $9.99 on PSN) it’s hard to recommend picking this one up. Let me further explain.
Gameplay mechanics for Dollar Dash aren’t very deep and nor are they meant to be. There are three multiplayer modes available to you and while each goal might be slightly different they play very similarly. Essentially you play as a greedy burglar out to collect cash and take out anyone who gets in your way. At your disposal you have projectile weapons like rockets and boulders, traps that you can set to slow your opponents or take them out, and boosts you can acquire to give you a competitive edge in the madness. The pace of the game never seems to slow and you’re never holding on to one weapon or another for too long so it’s near impossible to keep track of what you have equipped or how to use it. The game is so fast paced at times that it seems like a button mashing free for all and you just cross your fingers that you come out on top.
Dollar Dash is a strictly multiplayer affair with no single player mode or story. If you’re playing solo the game will supply you with some computer AI bots, but considering the game isn’t overly exciting you’ll at least want to play online or locally with friends so you can throw around some smack talk. The three modes on offer mentioned above are Dollar Dash, Hit n’ Run, and Save the Safe. Each offers its own twist on the same end result, which is to finish with the most cash.
Dollar Dash is easily the most basic of modes and the one you’ll spend the most time playing. You’ll crazily run all over the map collecting stacks of money while attacking and avoiding your opponent’s onslaughts. Every once in a while you’ll have a van, boat or helicopter show up where you can deposit your stash. The more cash you have the slower you move of course which makes you a sitting duck a lot of the time. In fact even when you’re loot free it’ll feel like you’re not moving fast enough so you can imagine how painful it is when you’re loaded up. Luckily there’s some variation in the maps with some destructible environments that can help you strategize a bit but it’s not enough to keep you excited about the game for long. Hit n’ Run has you focused on taking out your opponents directly to earn your cash rather than trying to get loot to an escape vehicle. Seeing as the combat isn’t really a stunner in this game neither is this mode. Finally, in Save the Safe, you play a game of keep away from your other three opponents. You’ll pick up the safe and try to hold it for as long as you can before one of your challengers takes it from you. You only have yourself to rely on for protection so it’s rare to hold on to the safe for very long. The safe bounces around from player to player so often that this mode turns into a mess rather quickly.
Taking your ill begotten goods you’re able to purchase upgrades between matches. Upgrades range from cosmetic changes (beards, hats, etc.) to weapon and boost increases. You can also purchase some fun taunts and character badges as well. Funny thing is that while you can purchase weapon upgrades it never seems like a worthwhile investment as the in-game the weapon collect icon quite often shows up as a question mark so you never really know what you’re getting your hands on until you have it. Once collected you have no choice but to use what you’re stuck with until it’s gone as there’s no ‘drop weapon’ option available.
Dollar Dash, with its cel-shaded graphics style, looks all right but the overall look is definitely not one you’d consider to be a stunner. As mentioned before it almost seems like something I’d more likely see on my iPad rather than over my Xbox console. Generic and boring there’s nothing that stands out but I guess that’s what you get sometimes with XBLA title. The same goes for the sound too.
At the end of the day Dollar Dash just didn’t grab me like it could have. Sure, a minor amount of fun might be had in a party situation with friends, but the lack of depth and overall madness that each match turns into won’t keep you playing for long. If you’ve got 800 MS points burning a hole in your digital wallet I’d recommend giving this one a pass and dashing for something else… quickly.