Saturday, January 2, 2016

Dashy Crashy, a SEGA inspired endless runner?

What do you get when you take two fans of classic SEGA arcade racers, one who worked for Digital Sumo, and task them with creating an endless runner? You get the bright and colorful Dashy Crash!
While Dashy Crashy is not an arcade game, it has strong roots in arcade gaming. The creators Travis Ryan and Brent Poynton set out to create an endless runner that harks back to SEGA's arcade racers of yesterday. As Travis Ryan explains, "We wanted to give endless games a shot in the arm; making every play a surprise with 'procedural everything’ and dynamic physics-action, while exorcising our love for arcade - making SEGA games specifically - into a pure, distilled form for a new audience." Seriously, look at the flyer image below for Dashy Crashy and try to tell me that it doesn't look like an arcade flyer.
Dashy Crashy is essentially an endless racer that utilizes a beautiful color palette and blocky design. Some of the design elements in the game are reminiscent of classic SEGA games like Outrun 1 and 2, Outrunners, and even Crazy Taxi. The scenery changes are similar and just as vast as SEGA's Outrun games while the cell shading and bright colors seem to be inspired by the look of Crazy Taxi. You also have a peppy soundtrack that brings Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 to mind and some sound effects that sound like they were taken right out of Outrun 2. Even the narrator/announcer of the game drops a little Easter egg by periodically commenting "my favorite route!", clearly this has to be a nod to the Outrun series. You also have some similar types of vehicles and even an unlockable car named "exotic car" which looks to be designed after a hardtop Ferrari Testarossa, similar to the car from Outrun.
Did that peach just...
Seriously, lose the top and paint her red and you got it!
You can see it in the back lights
The gameplay is simple, whimsical, and fun, with just the right bit of randomness. First off you control the car by swiping your finger; you swipe left and right to change lanes, up to increase speed (and boost your score counter), and down to brake. Controlling speed and braking can be crucial at times as random incidents are thrown at you. You may be driving along and the narrator/announcer may caution you of an upcoming accident, a change in car patterns (like all taxi cabs or box trucks for a bit), or she may caution you about what's coming up behind you. This could be police cars chasing a perp who's driving recklessly, an ambulance, or someone who wants to race you. Deciding whether you want to chase the ambulance as they plow a straight line through traffic or race the street racer is up to you. While this is going on, random humorous emoji's, comical crashes, and even a van reminiscent of the A-TEAM will fly by you.
Did that peach just...?
You can choose from various vehicles that fall into one of the following classes, light, medium, heavy, and fast. Each class has it's advantages and disadvantages. For example fast cars can only crash once, while heavier vehicles like a bus can withstand a few crashes. The classes also affect how a car handles and whether they get a speed bonus or not.
To keep you coming back and playing more, the game offers other player's high scores for you to beat. These scores are chosen based on what rank you have made it to. This is great since you are presented with a single score to beat that will increase in increments once you beat it. You do not have to feel overwhelmed by looking at a leader board that contains insane scores. The developers also took a great approach to "free to play" gaming they are calling 'pay-what-you-want.' The game is free to play with a limited amount of plays before you have to watch an advertisement to gain more plays. You can also buy one of many vehicles which will disable ads and give you unlimited play. The price of vehicles range from $0.99 up to $2.99. All vehicles are also unlockable through the games random 'highway lottery' that will randomly award vehicles based on what rank you have made it up to. So, essentially you can buy the game for $0.99 and play to unlock all of the other vehicles, much better than some of the other free to play games out there.
Dashy Crashy is a fun endless runner that has triggered many arcade memories while playing. I keep finding myself thinking though how much better this game could be with a steering wheel. With the recent flood of mobile games transitioning to arcades, I hope arcade developers can see the potential in Dashy Crashy. It would be great to sit in a plastic molded seat, grab a steering wheel, and let the arcade memories of old continue to mix with the new.
I am betting that this guy can take quite a few hits...

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