Fruit Ninja… I can’t praise it enough. I’ve played it almost everyday since launch; when I went on vacation this month, I played it while waiting in line at the airport, waiting for the airplane, and even in the airplane waiting for landing.
But there’s always that doubt on whether Halfbrick is just a one-trick pony, whether they came up with one good idea and don’t have anymore. Since Halfbrick is still largly unproven (only two games on the App Store), I certainly held this doubt about Monster Dash, a game that combines Canabalt with obstacles.
But that doubt didn’t stay for long — I said goodbye after playing for a total of 5 minutes. Since then, I’ve actually replaced Fruit Ninja with Monster Dash as one of my favorite casual games on the App Store. With a nice balance in difficulty, OpenFeint achievements, and an acceptable variety of weapons, Monster Dash should definitely be “the game to get”.
Difficulty: The difficulty ramps up quite evenly every 1,000 meters and is quite balanced throughout the game.
Achievements: Like Fruit Ninja, Monster Dash hosts a slew of OpenFeint achievements that aren’t easy to acquire, but easy enough to achieve after giving the game some time. Achievements include killing a certain number of zombies, traveling a certain distance, etc. They’re far from difficult; it just takes time.
The ‘it’ factor: Casual games always have the “it” factor. The game, somehow, hooks you in for some odd reason you just can’t explain. And Monster Dash has exactly that: the “it” factor. It’s fun, makes you come back for more, and you’ll feel good about every single run even if you didn’t do too well. Along with that, it’s a game that you can play for hours at a time or just a few minutes: the possibilities are endless.
Retina: The icon is surely Retina-optimized, but the rest isn’t. Yes, it’s a bit spoiled on my part since it is quite difficult in adding more detail to support the Retina display. But considering the fact that Fruit Ninja has acceptable Retina display just makes me expect it from Halfbrick.
Variety: I don’t really have a complaint about the weapon variety; there are four total from what I can see: submachine gun, The Pacifier, machine gun jetpack, and Mr. Zappy. But the level variety does need some work, since I’ve only seen three total environments. And they all feature more or less the same type of monsters even if they look different.
Only one game mode: While this game mode is quite endless for me, it would be nice to have a change of pace every once in a while.
Monster Dash has redefined the words “casual game”. Well, not really. But still. I’ve had a ton of fun with Monster Dash, and there’s really no other words to describe it other than just that: fun. While it does have its flaws and can definitely improve in the areas mentioned above, for $0.99, this is an extremely safe pick.