Dash Race Review
Dash Race feels more like a collaborative toy than a full-fledged game. It’s a racing game, so the goal is to win, but the mechanics aren’t compelling enough to drive you to finish a full game. It gets points for originality, though.
The way it works is that each player takes a turn directing their vehicle a few steps at a time toward the finish line. When you’re turn comes up, a three by three grid appears over your racing dot. The dot you select is the direction in which your vehicle will move forward. Selecting the same dot multiple turns in a row allows you to gain speed and take many more steps forward. Your turning axis will be diminished in exchange, so you can't make wide turns. If you come into a turn too strongly, you will crash and lose multiple plays.
In a sense, Dash Race takes the split-second decisions and movements of a standard racing game and puts them into play-by-play slow motion. It’s a great tool to predict and analyze the mechanics of a traditional race, but it isn’t very fun. It requires a lot of patience, and the reward of winning a race entirely depends on your competitive spirit. There aren’t any unlockables from winning, but you can purchase downloadable tracks.
You can also print out the tracks after completing them, if you are interested in trying out the paper and pencil version of the game. It’s an odd addition, but a welcome one. After completing races you can publish results to Facebook and save images of your race. According to the handy news section of the game, which outlines past and future updates, Game Center achievements are coming soon.
The game has good music, but oddly enough, it doesn’t play during the actual race--only over the menus. During the race, the only sounds you hear are the clicks and taps from setting your course and the occasional explosion from hitting an obstacle. The near complete lack of sound makes races seem all too quiet. Considering races take a long time, though, it’s an understandable decision.
Since the game is based on turns, there is a real missed opportunity for an online component similar to Words with Friends. The closest thing to online multiplayer is the chance to play across multiple local wireless devices.
This game could certainly find an audience, since it is a completely original take on a standard formula: get to the finish line first. But it can be pretty dull experience, and without a willing participant to compete against, it's not as fulfilling. The originality of Dash Race can’t overshadow the fact that it can be very, very boring.