iPhone Review: Monster Dash

“In a world where monsters are everywhere, and there is no public transportation, one man is running.” The epic sounding introduction to Monster Dash belongs more in a Hollywood blockbuster than an iPhone game. Until you read the next line. Let’s face it, you know you’re onto a winner when you’re playing a game starring a character called Barry Steakfries.

The premise of Monster Dash is simple. Run as far as you can, along the tops of buildings in a variety of settings, killing as many zombies, mummies and vampires as possible. Without a doubt, this is Canabalt on steroids. As you run, you get the chance to pick up new weapons to replace your short-range shotgun. The results of this are quite spectacular at times; the lightning gun is really worth grabbing just to see how damn cool it is (although it’s quite slow, so unfortunately can get you into a bit of trouble) and the jetpack machine gun lets you fly above the action for a few seconds while firing at the monsters below. You’ll even find a motorbike if you’re lucky, which is great for mowing down a few more bad guys without really thinking about it.

So what else is there? Well there’s a good range of environments which look great and have enough going on in the backgrounds to avoid everything appearing too static – in fact every 1000m you get warped to a new location and your running carries on with new surroundings, which certainly prevents things getting samey in the short-term.

But long term… well, most of you’re doing is trying to beat your own score or those of your OpenFeint friends. There are a few achievements that link in with your online profile which add some longevity to proceedings, but ultimately that’s all you get. There is an argument that running and shooting might get a little tiresome after a while, and that’s always a possibility with these escape-em-ups.

You know what though? That doesn’t matter. It’s addictive, really addictive. And the very nature of the game means you can sit for a few minutes, have a game or two and put it down again. Waiting for a train to arrive? Other half gone to buy the drinks? No problem, fire it up and have a run. Maybe you’ll be able to add a few metres to your high score. Not only that everything looks great, with bright colours, nice looking surroundings and some pretty funky visual effects. They’re not the most advanced graphical models you’ll ever see, but they’re not meant to be. This game looks perfect for the fun arcade game it sets out to be.

Don’t expect a year’s worth of gaming out of this, but you can safely expect some really good fun.

Price: £0.59 / $0.99

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