From Halfbrick, the studio that brought you Fruit Ninja, comes this equally addictive, run and gun endurance fest known as Monster Dash. Your task is simple, you must take on the role of the fantastically named, gun wielding Barry Steakfries and try to stay alive for as long as you possibly can. To do this you’ll have to avoid sharp drops, piercing spikes and all manner of menacing monsters, all whilst traveling at breakneck speeds. Those of you familiar with titles such as Canabalt and Cave Run will instantly recognize the similarities in gameplay, but Monster Dash brings a lot of its own features to the table.
The game is set over five nicely themed stages which you are randomly teleported between, every time you run 1000m with your life intact. Each stage not only increases the speed of the game, but brings with it a unique set of monsters ranging from Zombies to Yetis and even Vampires. As stages are packed with both enemies and other hazards, you’ll need to think fast on your feet if you’re planning on surviving for very long. Luckily the controls are easy to master and Barry can jump across gaps with a simple tap of the left hand button, whilst firing his trusty everlasting Shotgun with a tap of the right. Although falling down a gap results in an instant game over, you can be attacked by monsters until your hearts have depleted. Heart pickups are scattered throughout the five stages which will either replenish a lost life or grant you an additional one.
To help you keep a hold of your hearts, Mr Steakfries has quite the arsenal at his disposal, all of which can be found in wooden boxes that you’ll occasionally bump into on your travels. Smashing them will provide you with a new toy that could be anything from the Magnum style Pacifier, to Mr. Zappy the electricity firing gun and even the ultimate in pest control, the Machine Gun Jetpack. Vehicles aren’t off limits either and if you’re lucky enough to find a motorbike, Barry dons some leathers and with a small nod to the Terminator, rides through the level destroying everything in his path.
There are some very nice touches included throughout this game, primarily in the graphics and especially how different monsters react to a spray of bullets. As they die (again), Vampires burst into a colony of bats, Mummies disintegrate leaving only bandages and Demons disappear in a puff of smoke. These are merely superficial additions and have no effect on the gameplay whatsoever, but it’s always nice to see effort has been put into a game.
Having played through this game extensively for a number of weeks I have only come across two minor issues. Upon opening the App and starting to play, Game Center can often cause the game to stutter whilst logging in and occasionally cause you to die in the process. The other issue I’ve had, which is perhaps the most frustrating, is a problem with the jump button failing to respond. This doesn’t happen very frequently but more times than not, this leads to the inevitable demise of Mr Steakfries along with your hopes of a reputable leaderboard position.
If you are looking for a fun, fast paced, high scoring, monster mashing game with a challenge, then this is definitely for you. With 26 Game Center achievements to unlock, as well as global leaderboards this game offers tonnes of re-playability. Halfbrick Studios have promised more updates in the future if people continue to spread the word about Monster Dash. As this game is very popular I can imagine it’s more likely than not, that we’ll be seeing extra content somewhere down the line. Monster Dash, at least for me, is another one of those classic iOS games which leaves you saying “Oh, just one more go”.