Publisher: Chillingo Ltd
Developer: Pocket More Games
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Mini Dash is a quality platformer that’s all about speed. Gamers take control of a hero who is not only squishy but also sticky and quite flexible. Help the little guy make it through 150 levels loaded into three huge worlds and avoid all danger that gets in the way. The ridiculous amount of content packed into this title makes it impossible to resist playing for hours on end.

The first impression that many gamers will have about Mini Dash is that it is just too darn cute. From the adorable sound effects to the delightful graphics, its oozes with charm. The second impression will be about how entertaining this game is to play.

A tutorial quickly takes gamers through the controls. There’s an accelerometer mode for those who enjoy tilting, and there’s also an on-screen slider. I preferred the accelerometer, but they both work well. After picking a control method, the platformer takes gamers through the hero’s range of motions. The little guy is small, but he sure can move quickly. Gamers will be running, double-jumping, sticking to walls and falling from heights.

All the fun is had trying to maneuver strategically to avoid the insane obstacles like spikes, flying monsters and fireballs while racing against the clock. The goal in each level is to make it from the start to the exit in as little time as possible. Gamers can earn up to three green plus signs on every level. As the timer counts down, players will see the plus signs disappear.

There’s more to Mini Dash then just making it to the exit. Gamers can collect mushrooms in every level to purchase new characters and power-ups and there are retro 8-bit levels to unlock. It also comes complete with Game Center achievements and leaderboards as well as an option to switch from easy mode to hard.

While Mini Dash is loads of fun, the main drawback is that it’s not universal. In fact, there is no iPad support at all. Another subtle downside is that there isn’t an actual d-pad or button control option for gamers who may not enjoy the other two controls.

After playing for several hours last night, I can safely say that this is one of Chillingo’s better titles released this year. It’s nice to see a game that isn’t all about endless running, and it’s not packed with a ridiculous amount of in-app purchases. Just when I thought that Mini Dash might disappoint, it seemed to get even better. The amount of content and unlockables really help make it shine, and the graphics are extremely well-done and have a Mario-style vibe. The best part is that it’s only $0.99, which is probably the best dollar gamers will spend this month and perhaps even this year.

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