Dollar Dash is one of the easiest games I’ve ever had to review, because there really is not a lot to it. In concept and execution, it’s an incredibly simple affair: you’re a crook who runs around grabbing piles of cash and then dumping them in waiting getaway cars. Oh, and you do this with three other people, or AI controlled bots. Along the way you will collect an assortment of weapons, most of which are designed with humour rather than actual playability in mind. The first player to deliver enough cash to the designated spot is the winner. And that’s pretty much it.
I have to give Dollar Dash credit, because despite its simple premise, the experience turns out to be surprisingly chaotic, and sometimes quite enjoyable. The problem is that while the chaos is relatively non-stop, the moments of actual enjoyment are usually quite fleeting. For me, I found that there was often simply too much happening on the screen, and just moving around and keeping track of it all became frustrating. It doesn’t help that the controls are not quite as precise as I would have liked, so I ended up running off edges or into holes a little more often than I’d have liked.
The game is given added depth by its customization system, which allows you to unlock various items and special abilities as you progress. These include standard upgrades, like immunity to specific attacks, increased weapon damage on certain weapons, etc. These upgrades do inject some welcome tactical depth to the experience, although many of them are so specifically situational that it is difficult to really put too much stake in any sort if tactical progression. There are also various cosmetic upgrades, which didn’t do much for me, although I’m sure there are players who appreciate this sort of thing
Apart from the standard multiplayer mode I described above, there are two other gameplay modes. In Save the Safe the player who holds onto the safe for the longest, wins. This mode was probably my favourite, as you are encouraged to simply run away from everyone else as opposed to towards a single objective. This gives the mode a sense of space, so you can actually sort of tell what is going on. The problem is that the game’s knock-down system is a little broken, and can be exploited in such a way that opponent players can keep you knocked down perpetually by continuously knocking you down. When playing with other people, you can (hopefully) agree not to use this exploit whereas the AI is not quite as reasonable.
Hit ’n’ Run is the most chaotic form of the game, and you are basically encouraged to just flail away at other players. This was probably my worst, because it takes the generally chaotic nature of the game and just amplifies it.
Dollar Dash is not a bad game, it’s just an exceptionally average game that doesn’t do anything to separate itself from countless similar action-indie games. It’s occasionally quite fun, but for me it was just far to chaotic to hold my attention for extended periods of time.
Dollar Dash is available right now on Steam, Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network.
Bottom line: Consistently chaotic, occasionally enjoyable. It’s difficult to recommend.