“Dash of Destruction” XBLA Review
I wish there were more games like the recently released Dash of Destruction. Don’t get me wrong – this is no great game by any stretch of the imagination. But I like the fact that it was thought up by the winner of a Doritos-sponsored contest and then created by an independent developer. If nothing else, Dash of Destruction shows how one average man’s passing ideas for a game can become a reality. It’s inspiring. And did I mention it’s free?
Yes, Dash of Destruction is completely free. And because of that, it’s unfair to judge this based on priced games available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. But the reality is that this game is actually better than some of the priced Xbox Live Arcade titles. It also sets the new standard for how good free games can be on Microsoft’s service. Then again, all it had to do to earn that title was be better than Yaris – not too hard to do.
Environments are fully destructible
The premise of Dash of Destruction is simple, really. A T-Rex hungry for some Doritos (I’m not making this up) is terrorizing the city searching for Doritos delivery trucks. There are two single-player campaigns – one lets you control the T-Rex, who must eat a certain number of delivery trucks before they make their deliveries, and the other puts you in the driver’s seat of the much sought-after trucks, which must deliver the goods before the T-Rex eats them. Of course I chose the T-Rex campaign the first time I played. The graphics instantly struck me as bland, but once I started toppling buildings and laying waste to the city in search of the Doritos trucks, I realized that this game isn’t really all that awful. The first levels are extremely easy, but once you progress through the short campaign, challenges are added in the form of a rival T-Rex with the same unhealthy addiction to Doritos as you. In the blink of an eye, the campaign was over. But not before I unlocked half of the 12 achievements. About 15 minutes later, I finished the truck campaign and more achievements came pouring in.
For many of the gamerscore fanatics out there, the main appeal of Dash of Destruction will be its incredibly easy achievements. Most of them have to do with reaching a certain level in either campaigns, and even the other ones like “Destroy all the buildings in a level” or “Make 40 deliveries” can easily be earned in one play-through without even knowing that those are in fact achievements. Admittedly, the hardest achievement to get is “Win a local multiplayer match”. I was going for a 12-achievement sweep in one sitting, so all I did to get that one was pull out my second controller, turn it on, set up a match real quick, and let myself win. There are two game modes to choose from in multiplayer: Zen and Chaos. Chaos is the more standard mode, where both the T-Rex and the truck race to accomplish their goals before the other player can. In Zen, you need to make the most deliveries to win the game, but you start as the T-Rex. To become a truck, you have to eat one first.
A helpful boost button can help you escape from the T-Rex… or close in on the truck
There is no online multiplayer, which is kind of surprising and unsurprising at the same time. It’s surprising because Yaris has online multiplayer, and… well, come on, this is Yaris we’re talking about. On the other hand, I’m not surprised because in about two weeks the lobbies would be completely empty. There are leaderboards… but only a small handful of people are going to be taking those seriously.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a free, independently-made game who’s main purpose is to advertise Doritos. But I have to say, after playing through the entire game in less than half an hour, it’s not all that terrible. It’s no Braid, but it’s no Yaris either. Dash of Destruction likely won’t keep your attention (or my attention) for very long, but it’s a surprisingly fun game with an interesting backstory and some quick achievement points.
Pros: Interesting backstory, fun premise, destructible environments, two campaigns, easy achievements, free
Cons: Bland graphics, shameless Doritos tie-in, too easy, way too short, no online multiplayer
Final Score: 7 out of 10