Canyon Dash in Review – Needs More Adrenaline

Lately I’ve been touting how sometimes it seems like the simplest games are the most engaging.  Unfortunately simplicity can have just the opposite effect, and I think Canyon Dash is almost to that point.  The concept of a runaway mine cart on a dangerous track has always been intriguing, but there’s not much more than a concept to go on here.  It’s not that Canyon Dash is a bad game, it’s just that there are other offerings on the App Store that make the renegade mine cart notion a lot more entertaining.

You control a mine cart, and your job is to navigate the never ending tracks until you make a wrong turn and crash into something.  For me that seems to happen a lot in a short amount of time.  Your score is based on the number of gems and gold bars you collect along the way, with each gem worth 50 points and gold bars netting you a whopping 1000 points.  You then get some bonus points thrown on for how far you travelled and it’s “play again or quit”.  There is no social network integration, so you’re only competing for high scores against whoever uses your device and there are no achievements to earn.

To control the cart you simply tilt your device left and right.  It works, but I often find myself tilting just a little too much, which is hard to notice until you accidentally miss a turn and end up smacking a rock.  I think I would prefer left and right buttons to the tilt method.  The only other action you can do during the game is tap the screen when you have dynamite so you can clear off gray boulders that are impeding your progress.  The problem there is that you have no on-screen indication of how much dynamite you have, so unless you know you just picked one up your better off avoiding the boulders altogether.

The graphics are actually pretty nice.  The background has lots of details, the cart looks as cool as a mine cart can look, and there are nifty sparkles when you pick up gems or a cloud of dust during the inevitable crash.  I think this engine would actually work well for an overhead racing game.  The sound effects are decent enough, though obviously limited since there’s not much for you to do in the game.  Some ambient sound effects would be great, and even better would be some background music.  The game is fairly quiet up until the point where you take that final plunge into some unsuspecting background feature.

Canyon Dash is a great start of a game.  Sadly, it really feels like more of a start than a full game.  Just some of the things it could use is more game play modes, more to do during a run, and social network integration.  Any one of these would make a big difference, and all three could make this a completely different game.  Canyon Dash definitely needs a little dash of something.

Tap It Rating - 3/5

App Summary
Title: Canyon Dash Developer: Gavin Clifton
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Easy to figure out
  • Nice graphics
  • Not much going on
  • Only supports tilt controls
  • No leaderboards / achievements
  • No music


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