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Pokemon Dash! - Review

By , From IGN | 2008-03-05

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Even with all the downsides in its development, Pokemon Dash isn't entirely a bad, hateful experience. It actually has some merit in its design despite its limiting execution. There's a bit of strategy involved in the race that players must utilize; some goals, for instance, aren't immediately accessible without picking up a specific power-up ahead of time that will make Pikachu immune to specific terrain. Players will have to "plan ahead" so to speak in order to beat the other opponents. And the idea of freefalling to the ground after launching in a balloon is actually quite cool; since players can choose to descent gradually or rapidly, they'll have to use a bit of strategy to land safely on the ground since certain surfaces are harder (and more hazardous) than others.

It's not the first game to add GBA cartridge functionality in a DS design, but Pokemon Dash is the first DS title to actually spotlight this element as one of the main gameplay modes in its production. By sticking a GBA Pokemon cartridge in the DS, Pokemon Dash will download the current line-up of starter Pokemon creatures in that player's possession, and convert them into playable "courses." The idea in this "Special" mode is to find the hidden checkpoint in each level, limited in the time that's awarded to the player via the Pokemon's level -- the higher the Pokemon creature's level during the download, the more time that's given to the player in order to beat the Special mode. It's a good idea in theory, at least in practice, but keen eyes can see the specific "checkpoint" that needs to be obtained since the DS' background scaling doesn't obscure the bright white pixel that marks the checkpoint's location on the playing field.

It's still not enough to save Pokemon Dash from its overall mediocreness, though.

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