13 Apr, 2005

Pokemon Dash Review

DS Review | Dash to the game or dash away? PALGN tells all.
Pokemon has a long history and as such it has been flaunted to death by Nintendo. Pokemon has had its own handheld (Pokemon Mini) and has appeared on the Gameboy Advance, Nintendo 64 and Nintendo Gamecube. Amongst great anticipation Pokemon makes its debut on the Nintendo DS, with Pokemon Dash.

Pokemon Dash isn't a traditional RPG, but more a spinoff of the Pokemon franchise. There have been a few Pokemon spin off titles such as Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Puzzle League, While these titles haven't had the depth of the RPG's they still provided for an entertaining game. So, is Pokemon Dash an asset to the Nintendo DS and the Pokemon trademark or is it tarnishing the Pokemon name?

The overall concept of Pokemon Dash involves the player using the stylus to direct Pikachu where to go. The game is a race and the object is to beat the other Pokemon in the race. There are a lot of tracks in the game and numerous ways to win such as taking a hot air balloon or running over a speed power up. Like many other Nintendo DS games the player can opt to only use the stylus to control everything.

The top screen of the Nintendo DS serves as a stat screen and displays Pikachu's current position, a map, the title of the track and a list of the top three Pokemon. The bottom screen displays how many checkpoints have been completed. The bottom screen also serves as the action screen.

There is a practice mode available and a time attack option but the heart of the game lies in the GP mode. The GP mode is where all the racing takes place, more GP's are unlocked as races are won. Two players can battle it out through wireless play if you just must see your Pokemon Dash. Chances are that if you've brought the game you will be trying to find some value in the game. Unfortunately players cannot choose to be any Pokemon except Pikachu.

Just like most of the recent Pokemon games,Pokemon Dash allows for good connectivity. Those who own either Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red or Leaf Green are encouraged to place their game into the Nintendo DS Gameboy Advance slot. This unlocks new tracks and will allow the player to create custom cups. It is a novel inclusion, but better than nothing and really easy to implement.

While the game modes will keep those players who are interested in the game happy, it would have been better to have more modes available. The time trial and practice modes seem like a quick addition, leaving the player with only one real option, to play the GP mode. Nintendo could have easily added some Pokemon themed minigames into the mix, similar to what they did with Super Mario 64 DS.

Pokemon is renowned for having quick fix, extremely addictive game play. Unfortunately this has not transferred over with Pokemon Dash. The game gets boring very quickly and when you've only got one mode to select things can get very repetitive.

The top screen of the DS is entirely static and the map looks like a radar and is hard to make out. This can often make the game like guesswork. The colours in the game are vibrant but the 2D ground looks like it has come directly from Pokemon Fire Red. There are some weather effects in different tracks, but this is definitely not the graphical showcase for the Nintendo DS.

Pokemon Dash's graphics also aren't as good as we were hoping and expecting. The main title screen looks good but things begin to go downhill when the game begins. The viewpoint is from a birds eye view meaning the potential for great eye candy isn't exactly present. A 3D Pokemon game (either racing or otherwise) would have looked much better and been a better showcase of the DS's capabilities.

The Nintendo DS boasts a much better speaker set than the Gameboy SP. This means that the tunes are much easier to hear. While this is a good thing in most games, it is the worst thing possible for Pokemon Dash. There are only around three songs in the entire game and they feel like they are on a ten second loop. This game is really best played with the music off as it adds nothing to the game at all.

As we mentioned earlier, the limited game modes limit how long the game will last for. We don't expect anyone to play the game for any longer than five hours unless they are a really die hard fan of the Pokemon series. Nintendo had the potential to make this game last a lot longer than it actually does, which is really disappointing.

A lot of our readers are going to look at the final score we've given Pokemon Dash and look at us as Pokemon haters. This is untrue, Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire were our GBA games of the year in 2002. We like the Pokemon franchise, we just don't like this game.

This game could have been as part of a Pokemon compilation or a mini game in the upcoming Nintendo DS Pokemon games, but as it stands, all we can see is a really shallow game retailing for very hefty price. This is unfair considering the game completely lacks substance. A truly disappointing title.
The Score
Pokemon Dash is one of the worst Nintendo licensed products released in the last few years. We question how this got the Nintendo gold seal. 4
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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9 years ago
icon_kero.gif this emoticon was my exact face expression! I kind of wish they stop with the pokemon games, kind like I amg etting sick of the NFS serries!
9 years ago
didn't expect very much from this game anyway. I thought pokemon game, well we'll see what's new. But pokemon racing? nintendo's losing it.
9 years ago
You can pretty much tell if a Pokémon game is going to be good or not by how prominent Pikachu is on the cover box art. icon_razz.gif
The good Pokémon games do not focus on Pikachu. This one does, and was - in my opinion - just a cheap way to get a Pokémon game out fast to attract the kids.
Wait for Diamond and Pearl if you want a decent Pokémon game. icon_kero.gif
9 years ago
Hyperworm wrote
in my opinion - just a cheap way to get a Pokémon game out fast to attract the kids.
Exactly - I was half tempted to buy it actually icon_razz.gif
Its just like Snap and Pokemon Channel - easy money..
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