Dash and Bash is the rubber ducky race from hell and that is in no way an insult.
Technically it’s a race game, but it’s really an endless runner with a stopwatch and finish line. It isn’t so much about winning the races, but navigating through the obstacle filled tracks in good time. Dash and Bash is a title that is well suited for iOS because it is easy to learn and fits well into short spaces of time. Each race concludes in under a minute and there are plenty of tracks and game modes to make it interesting.
The controls took a bit of getting used to and resulted in a few false starts early on. Tap mechanics usually work left-to-right, but Dash and Bash works up and down. Tapping above the water makes him fly, while tapping under water makes him dive. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to get confused and suddenly tap too low or high resulting in unnecessary movement. It’s also hard to control his level of depth, but there are few moments where hitting the very top or bottom will hurt you.
The art style that would fit right into a saturday morning cartoon block. The story is told comic book style with colorful characters speaking with speech bubbles. Dash the duck is looking to win the Spring Banks racing championship, but standing in his way is reigning champion Bash the beaver. Bash does not play fair and directs his many minions to erect dams and do everything in their power to thwart Dash’s attempts to become the fastest duck on the river.
The level designs are simple early on then get sadistic in the later levels. Individual obstacles aren’t bad by themselves. Running into Bounders flings you in the opposite direction and Splatters obscure your vision, but are easy to dodge by themselves. By level three however, these obstacles are used in combination and sometimes show up in unavoidable situations. On top of that, they continue to introduce new obstacles all the way up to level five.
There are cool helper items that make the races easier. Titches used like a missles that destroy any obstacle in front of Dash while Duckeenies form a protective barrier when gathered in triplicate. The problem is that they don’t show up often enough; especially in later levels when they are the most useful.
Dash and Bash includes some extras that enhance game play. The different costumes increase Dash’s acceleration, strength and gold multiplier. Each one can be purchase with gold accumulated after each race. Upgrading becomes absolutely necessary to compete in higher levels, but the completionists out there will have plenty to shoot for with a bevy of costumes to unlock.
Even after the game is finished, there is a challenging extra mode where you race against Bash. Essentially he is the equivalent to a time trial ghost that will never hit an obstacle. That means Dash needs to run a perfect race in order to even come close to winning, which is a difficult proposition at best.
Dash and Bash is game that knows what it is and doesn’t try to do too much. It delivers a lot of game for the 99 cent price price tag and definitely holds up after repeated play throughs. This game is the ultimate quick fix and a throughly satisfying short attention span gaming experience.