Developer: Strange Flavour
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Apple Dash HD harks back to the 8-bit and 16-bit days when platformers were 2D and frequently quite tough to complete. That’s a good thing, indeed, although those used to modern day platformers might be caught out by just how challenging Apple Dash HD becomes.

Exuding plenty of class, Apple Dash HD has the music and looks of a winner. In each case, it’s simply yet clearly done, ensuring that the focus still remains on the gameplay. It also echoes the golden days of titles such as Rainbow Islands, a trend that continues the longer that one plays it.

appledash7appledash5Across the 100 different levels, all one has to do is collect all the fruit scattered around. It’s a simple aim but one that is complicated by various obstacles. The player can only jump a short distance, meaning it’s vital that they learn the drop jump, an adaptation of the double jump, allowing them to leap further distances but not necessarily any higher than before. Spikes get in the way too, not killing the hero, but knocking him downwards a fair bit. Within a series of levels so focused on the portrait view perspective, being knocked down can cause many problems.

Monsters, too, enjoy slowing the player’s progress, making that seemingly generous timer bar feel not so generous after a time. It’s a hearty blend of difficulty, but Apple Dash HD is consistently charming with it.

At the end of each stage, fruit plummets from the sky along with letters spelling out BONUS, a hark back to the 1980s games of old. It’s a sweet touch and one of many small things that keep Apple Dash HD satisfying.

Admittedly, the controls take a little adjustment, mostly because even with small hands, the iPhone 5 feels a little narrow to accurately control from a portrait held perspective. It’s something that potentially could have been solved through a floating set of controls, rather than a fixed virtual d-pad, but it’s something that can be overcome.

Despite such quibbles, Apple Dash HD is a positively charming game. One that will challenge for a long while yet consistently entertain.

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