Pokemon Dash DS Review

There's simply no other word suitable for Pokemon Dash than stupid. It's incomprehensible. This wasn't even a good idea to begin with for a full-fledged game. It may have fit in as a cheap Mario Party DS mini-game (whenever that finally happens), and even then, it would be completely forgettable.

The concept itself denies it any chance of being a fun game. Pikachu is controlled from an overhead view as players slide the stylus to guide him. The actual race is presented from a claustrophobic overhead view that doesn't allow for much give at all. Instead, you'll need to follow a blinking arrow that wouldn't even be necessary if this was designed right, or from a different view.

As such, the graphics are as pathetic as the rest of the game. This would have been perfect for the Game Boy Advance in every way if they used a simple d-pad control scheme, and it would have worked. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and developer Ambrella is trying to pass this off as some innovative product. It's not.

Mixing things up a little bit are cheap power-ups. These allow Pikachu and the other Pokemon to traverse areas that would otherwise slow the critters down. The only other power-up is an air balloon. In this, players can fly over otherwise inaccessible areas to find the next checkpoint. They'll need to aim their landing via a small, hard to see shadow.

It makes these power-ups a necessity to win; yet it's pure luck if they're found. There's no indication as to where they're located. It's all a matter of hoping you come across one at the right time to pull ahead.

Multi-player is ruined because there is a speed cap. It doesn't matter how fast you slide the stylus around the screen. Pikachu and the rest top out at a meager speed, defeating the thrill of something like the classic Track & Field where success was determined by seeing how long you could go mashing on buttons. Since there's little or no strategy to Dash, this would have made it a little more tolerable.

Maybe this would all make more sense if the game were rated for youngest set. This should have earned the EC rating, since it offers nothing in the way of violence or offensive material. Only the group the EC rating is used for will find any redeeming value in this disaster.

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