Pokémon Dash (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 12.03.2005 14

The main Pokémon series is based on the role-playing genre and has managed to sell over 100 millions copies around the world to date. However, there have been various spin-offs, such as pinball, puzzle, multiplayer battling and even camera versions popping up. Now, after speculation of Pikachu possibly turning up in the Mario Kart franchise, all of the critters have been crammed into their own little racing title. But how does it compare?

Considering this is a first generation title for the Nintendo DS, perhaps you would not be expecting too much in the way of extravagant visuals. However, with many other first-time efforts on the DS being so impressive, especially Nintendo's own Super Mario 64 DS, a little more could have gone into Dash. Instead all we have is a distant overhead view of small characters whizzing around courses with barely any interesting detail dotted around. There is nothing exactly bad about what is on show, but on a system more powerful than the N64 a little effort would have been appreciated. Under-performer in this department, unfortunately, especially with the confusion in judging distances when floating up in the sky...

Screenshot for Pokémon Dash on Nintendo DS

The sound aspect of Pokémon Dash is not quite as bad, with some very nice speech popping up here and there (although if you cannot stand incessant ‘Pika Pika’s then you should turn the volume down, definitely). As for the music, it is all very twee – chirpy, plinky-plonky tunes that smaller children may love. But most of the music will likely fade into the background as the annoying yellow rat screams out at you every five or so seconds. Not awful, but as with the graphics, and the game as a whole in all honesty, slightly disappointing.

Ambrella is a company started up by Nintendo, and brought the world the rather terrible voice recognition game Hey You, Pikachu! for the Nintendo 64. This is the company’s second attempt at a Pokémon game and boy does it disappoint again. The basis of the title is that of a racing game. Now, whilst this might sound like a winning formula, considering the antics of Mario and company in the Mario Kart series, it could barely be worse than it is. Instead of the behind-vehicle viewpoint, proceedings take place in a top-down orientation instead, as if the player is actually positioned over the bunch of little Pocket Monsters lingering around the starting line.

Screenshot for Pokémon Dash on Nintendo DS

Control is via the stylus, although whilst this turns out to be a very unique experience, it certainly is not a pleasurable one. The touch-screen is used as a large analogue pad, akin to in Super Mario 64 DS, but rather than fine movements throughout, the whole thing is reduced to frantic brushes in various directions all over the touch-screen. But it is not even as if the speed at which you move the stylus really makes that much difference either, as the maximum speed can actually be attained by rhythmically moving around in the desired direction. It is amazing how boring this can get in a short time...

There are various types of terrain that must be crossed, such as sand, heavy grass or slippery ice. Each one will affect your movement and speed accordingly, unless you cross a special ground-pad that gives you the power to speed-up over a specific land-type. Basically you will run around the tracks, trying to avoid obstacles and hazards, all the time attempting to stay ahead of the pack. To try and add some variety to this racer, Ambrella has thrown in a balloon twist. However, this backfires terribly. Whereas you can just about use the little on-screen map to guide yourself around with the restricted viewpoint, once you collect balloons and rub the side of the screen and shoot up to the sky. Here you have not got a clue where the hell you are going, movingly around randomly in the hope of spotting the other racers. Once time has been wasted doing this, you can rub 'Dive' at the side to float slowly down. Or you can simply tap on Pika's two balloons and make him plummet, more often than not ending with a *splat*, followed by a frustrating wait till he gets up again.

Screenshot for Pokémon Dash on Nintendo DS

And that is it...

Screenshot for Pokémon Dash on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

It is blatantly obvious that Nintendo was relying on the Pokémon brand to make this work, but sadly it is nothing more than a poor entry into a venerable series. Hopefully a mainline RPG will come along quickly and wash away the painful memory of this sub-par racing title.

Developer

Ambrella

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Driving

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Cheers for the review. I heard this was terrible from a load of places, this just adds another to the pile.

Well done for playing through it, though...Smilie

Painful experience, but it had to be done...eventually! :lol:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Ouch. One to avoid, if I didn't know that already. Hopefully Pearl and Diamond will more then make up for it, though.

Oh yeah, with Game Freak you can't go wrong. It is the Daddy of the franchise and knows how to handle it best. Ambrella, on the other hand, cannot be trusted in the slightest it would appear! :roll:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Played the demo in EB. PLEAUCHG!

Not quite the word I'd use, blizz, but I catch your drift! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I agree, i tried this game at EB, it was terrible.

As my first DS game I found it good as a device for getting used to the touch screen. Though the game itself is fairly limited.

I dont think it would ever hold much weight after the launch period, but for that time I though it was a worthy purchase.

See no Wiivil
Hear no Wiivil
Speak no Wiivil

I tried this originally back in Paris at the end of January...and damn I didn't want it at all, but hey, we all have to do bad reviews at some point! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I actually liked it for a while. But, that was when the touchscreen had a novelty value all by itself :D

OFF TOPIC!!!

Anyone know if Ninty are making Pokemon Electric Yellow for the GBA? I wanna get Fire Red but if there making a Yellow version I may as well wait right?

Doesn't seem like it, what with Emerald coming out as the third version of Sapphire/Ruby the GBA might have had its fill of Pok

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Ouch!

Maybe that should have been my final comment in the review!! :lol:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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