Developer: Full Fat
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Temple Run meets James Bond in the latest endless high-speed runner to parachute into the App Store. Agent Dash has the familiar and widely popular gameplay mechanics, dressed up as 007 meets Mr. Incredible. The game is sure to have legions hooked, swiping their way through stunning visuals, within days of its release. And it’s free, so auto runner fans will definitely want to grab it. But, while Agent Dash is slick and addictive, it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.
If one has played Temple Run then this really ought to be familiar. Our dapper spy speeds in his very British way towards his enemies, running through jungles, tunnels, and English towns. He jumps and slides to avoid hazards like toxic waste, laser beams and ice cream trucks. The controls are virtually the same, with a swipe left or right controlling direction, an upward swipe for jumping and downward for slides. When nearing enemy headquarters Dash has to do some quick shooting, but it’s just a matter of tapping to fire - no aim or skill required. There’s no tilting to collect coins though, which makes this the most enjoyable game of its ilk for iPad players. Instead gentler swipes help Dash collect diamonds that serve as in-game currency.
For the most part the game plays as well or better than Temple Run, largely due to the amazing graphics. The Retina-display backgrounds are lush and wonderfully animated and the characters have Saturday morning carton appeal without ever seeming childish.
That said, Full Fat doesn’t really do much with the whole secret agent concept. Dash can avail himself of upgradable jetpacks, coin magnets and gadgets that increase the number or value of gems collected. But there is nothing in the store that comes close to the imaginative items found in Jetpack Joyride much less anything novel. The game just begs for crazy super spy gadgets and sexy cars or boats. To compensate there are several unlockable characters, and single use power-ups that speed up the start of a run, or extend its end. There’s nothing wrong here, and a lot right. Still, more thought should have gone into the story and coming up with new twists.
Agent Dash is not for the feint-hearted. It takes a lot of face splats to get those few extra meters and to grab enough currency to unlock the goodies. The diligent should easily accrue enough for at least one outfit and a few upgrades in short order, but the items are expensive compared to other similar games, so in-app purchases are tempting.
Agent Dash is loads of well-polished arcade fun, but Full Fat missed a chance to bring something original to the well-worn genre. Here’s hoping they get more creative in an update soon.