Review: How about a dash of cool ranch?
Imagine if you will a contest (known as Unlock Xbox) where Microsoft asks gamers for ideas for a new Xbox Live Arcade title. Then imagine that the winning idea would be turned into a real, live game by the fine folks at Ninjabee (of Cloning Clyde
fame). Now imagine the whole thing was sponsored by Doritos and that the game had to center around someone's fevered hunt for everyone's favorite nacho-flavored chip-shaped snack food.
That's the story behind the recent XBLA release Dash of Destruction
. Like Yaris
before it, the game is currently available for free on the XBL Marketplace as a sponsored download. Unlike Yaris, it's actually playable. barely playable, but playable nonetheless.
Running with the Doritos theme, Dash of Destruction places players in the driver's seat of a Doritos delivery truck... that is being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that is hungry for Doritos. The second half of the game gives control of the T Rex to the player to then chase down the delivery trucks.
Each half of the game is split into six overhead maps that feature a variety of buildings, water hazards and roads. The advanced T Rex maps add a second hungry hungry carnivore as competition for tasty truck morsels. Likewise, the advanced truck maps add a second truck in search of Doritos deliveries.
Even with this competition, the game's twelve levels can be polished off in no time flat. It took me somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 minutes, but other players have bragged of even quicker times. And it's unlikely you'll be clamoring for more. Controlling the T Rex is a pain as he moves like a lumbering dinosaur (wait a minute...). The truck levels are more fun (and control better), but again, the six levels only take a few minutes to complete.
Speaking of the control. I'm very surprised Ninjabee didn't map the game's single button press (a special dash move) to the Left Trigger. That way, gamers could have played Dash of Destruction with one hand and stuffed their face with Cool Ranch Doritos with the other.
So why play Dash of Destruction at all (even if its free)? Because it is the easiest 200 Achievement points you'll ever score. Nearly each level rewards points for something and completing all twelve levels (which, again, will take between 30 and 40 minutes) unlocks 190 of the 200 points.
The final 10 points come from achieving a victory in a local multiplayer match. sadly, there's no online multiplayer. Which is actually a bit of a shame as the snark factor alone would have led to lots of full lobbies and drunken fun. Naturally, the multiplayer mode plays exactly like the campaign mode as players take control of the truck or the T Rex and attempt to make more deliveries or eat more trucks.
Amusingly enough, the game's focus on Achievements is right there on the screen as Mike Borland (the man who won the Unlock Xbox challenge) appears as a mad scientist caricature between levels encouraging players to "get that Gamerscore up" and adding cybernetic enhancements to the truck or the T Rex. These enhancements don't do much, but an on-screen appearance from the contest winner is a nice touch.