Dub Dash in Review: The Beat Rolls On
At one point after I received a copy of Dub Dash to look at the developer asked for an update on my review, and I told them I wanted to wait until I had finished at least one level before writing something about the game. After I don’t know how many times playing the first three levels I was ready to concede and write the review even though I hadn’t completed a single one yet, and then wouldn’t you know it – I actually managed to complete the first level! If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years when it comes to rhythm based games it’s that I’m not real good at them, so this was an exciting achievement for me. Thankfully it was born from a desire to actually accomplish something in the game, and not simply because I “had to” for the sake of this review. To me that’s the best sign of a game being worth putting some effort into.
Dub Dash has no complicated plot or deep meaning. It’s simply a game about trying to get from point A to point B by following the beat. The majority of the game is spent tapping the left or right sides of the screen to move in the appropriate direction, though sometimes that just means “swerving” to the left or right while at other times it actually rotates your avatar 90 degrees. It’s basically the same game play, but the shifting perspectives and slight modifications in the mechanics (a hard turn versus a drift, for example) make the journey constantly feel fresh. Occasionally you’ll even go into “flappy” mode where you hold the screen to go up and release to go down – you know the drill. Personally I could have done without these particular sequences, but there’s no questions that it adds an extra bit of variety to everything that’s going on.
Each level is a unique experience, in no small part due to the brilliant combination of visuals and audio that comprises your surroundings. As with a fair number of rhythm based games the music isn’t something I’d normally just sit down and listen to, but as a backdrop for the action in this game it is wonderful. The beat is naturally synced with the terrain, and if you’re not careful you’ll end up embarrassing yourself as your head bobs up and down to the music that no one else hears, at least if you use headphones like you should in order to fully appreciate the tunes. The visuals have a blocky look, but in a slick way and not a “this looks like every other blocky game on the App Store” way. Parts of the background will light up with the beat, much like some of the awesome displays people put up on their houses over the Christmas season. There’s not much in the way of sound effects, but in reality you don’t actually need any.
So you manage to actually finish one or more of the 7 levels that currently exist, but does the game offer more? Well, there are 3 musical notes to collect on each level, so there’s incentive to replay the level if you don’t get them all the first time. Of course so far they seem to primarily inhabit the “flappy” sections of the level, which is bad news for me. The game also offers 28 achievements through Game Center, and since there are only 7 levels that means they require more than completing a level in order to earn them. Also, on the level selection screen there appear to be 2 progress bars for each level, so I’m guessing that you might get to play through a – dare I say it – harder version of each level once you’ve completed them all. Someone with actual skillz will have to fill me in on that some day.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the game, but if I had to wave my mythical game altering wand and change something I’d love to see save points. Of course that actually seems to be a fairly unpopular feature among rhythm games, and I suppose it might harm the flow of the game somehow, so I’m not holding my breath. Also, I wish that instead of simply spiraling me into another attempt at losing a level the game would actually ask me if I want to play again. That might actually make it just a bit easier for me to tear myself away when I know I should be doing other things. Of course a little willpower might help there as well, but then I’d have to take responsibility for my addiction.
The concept of rhythm games, inasmuch as they look like cheap knock-offs of Guitar Hero, still manages to elude me. However, as long as developers keep making bizarre alternative like Dub Dash, I’m more than willing to pretend to be a fan from time to time. Slick visuals, lively music that keeps the head bobbing and a different mechanic than you see in most rhythm games make Dub Dash enjoyable even if you’re not a fan of the genre.
|Title:||Dub Dash||Developer:||Headup Games GmbH & Co KG|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0||Min OS Req:||iOS 7.0|