Does crime pay?
Kalypso Media’s Dollar Dash takes the player on family-friendly crime spree with a competitive edge. It also descends rather rapidly into chaos.
Is chaos that bad? It seems that many of us embrace it, and it really does get a bad rap in the media. But sometimes chaos can be fun, and when it is multiplayer chaos, surely that just makes it all the more enjoyable, right?
Dollar Dash is a cartoon-styled multiplayer heist game in which players have their cute little robber run around, stealing cash and depositing it in the back of a getaway van. There are other modes available, which include stealing a safe or simply beating the other players up, but delivering cash bundles to the van is where the core experience lies.
Running back and forth with bundles of cash would not make for a particularly exciting game, so the addition of other players, environmental hazards and various power ups bolster the gameplay. Dollar Dash is played across single screen levels, some of which have a passing similarity to classic Bomberman levels. The levels are pleasant enough, with some adding guards and other hazards for the player to negotiate whilst making their getaway with the cash.
But the real hazard comes from the other players who, in between grabbing their own piles of cash, can cause the player to drop their own ill-gotten gains, making it available to others. There are a huge number of different weapons that can be deployed by players, such as simple guns through to vacuum cleaners, traps to catch your opponents unawares, and power ups that will make life that little bit simpler. The zaniness that comes with these items fits in well with the cartoon feel of the game.
Controls on the PC version of the game work quite well. Although it is possible to use a gamepad, the standard keyboard to move and mouse to aim and fire combination did the trick. The game is pretty fast moving, and different maps change the action, so being comfortable with the controls is essential, although it may not save you in the long run.
In between the matches, players will have the chance to spend their winnings on a variety of items in the store. Upgrades and perks will aid the player in their quest for further cash, whereas the more visual upgrades which the player can use to customise their character, have no bearing on the gameplay whatsoever. In fact, due to the top down view and fast moving nature of the game, these customisations are very difficult to make out and, on the whole, pointless. Still, you have to have something to spend your money on.
Besides the main mode, the other two modes will have the players either stealing a safe and then fighting over it, with the player holding it the longest winning, or a basic free for all with nothing to steal and only other players to beat upon. Think of it as therapeutic vengeance for past transgressions.
For an arcade multiplayer title, this all seems fairly acceptable. Unfortunately, chaos raises its head once the game gets going and things become incredibly unmanageable. With players running back and forth, weapons going off in all directions and some very tight maneuvering on some levels, there really is more luck than skill involved in the game. There is just too much going on to think, let alone steal some cash, and this is perhaps the biggest fault of the game.
Dollar Dash is chaotic mayhem, and not necessarily the good sort. That being said, it is also good, wholesome family fun (if you ignore the whole “theft” thing). The fact that it is multiplayer only, and feels like it should be part of a larger game, is unfortunate and makes the price seem quite high at £7.99. But if you are in the mood for some competitive and chaotic thievery, Dollar Dash is not a bad way to spend an afternoon.