Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Yak racing is an actual sport practiced in Tibet and other parts of Asia. It's more or less what it sounds like: racers mount decorated yaks and tear across the landscape in hopes of coming in first and proving they have the fastest yak in the land. It's reportedly a fun sport to spectate - and a fun sport to participate in.
Yak Dash: Horns of Glory from Mutant Labs is likewise adorned with colors and filled with racing spirit and enthusiastic spectators. There's one difference between real yak racing and this simulation, though: the yaks in Yak Dash can perform some pretty sweet flips. But even though Yak Dash looks great, is loaded with personality, and has some great ideas (starting with its core premise, yak racing) it feels a bit slow and chunky. There's a wild animal underneath this racing title that's yearning to break free, but it's being reined in.
Each yak race takes place on a grand stage. These mountainous courses are fairly well-built and full of obstacles and shortcuts. From the word "Go," you thunder alongside seven other racers; first one across the finish line wins.
Yak Dash is pretty standard stuff as far as its mechanics go. You tap the screen to dash, which is a move that also breaks down obstacles in your way. Dashing requires apple juice, which you refill by grabbing apples scattered on the track. Alternatively, you can replenish your apple juice meter by performing flips while your yak is in mid-air.
If you crash your yak - either through a bad landing or by running onto objects - you get booted back to the last checkpoint you crossed. Here's where Yak Dash loses a lot of its momentum. Checkpoints are spaced fairly far apart, and if you get sent back you're left to stagger back up to the rest of the racers like a slow kid struggling to keep up with his peers on the track. If you mess up once, you can count on kissing your lead good-bye.
And Yak Dash makes it hard to get a lead in the first place. It seems like no matter how well you race, you can't break out of second place. Why can't we use that titular yak dash to slow down competitors? Giving other racers a good smack on the flank with your horns sure sounds satisfying.
Yak Dash is a decent racer, but its mechanics need more meat on their bones. After a bit of re-tooling and re-balancing, maybe we'll see the game do a victory lap.