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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Ambrella

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

March 2005

 

- Didn't give me any seizures

- Able to use a GBA Pokémon game for a bonus

 

 

- Not being able to choose a different Pokémon

- Hand cramps

- Extremely uneven AI opponents

- Rambling levels actually got me lost

 

 

Review: WarioWare Touched! (DS)

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Review: Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA)

 

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Pokémon Dash

Score: 4.5 / 10

 

In 1996 Pokémon came screaming into the consciousness of kids between the ages of 8 and 12.  And until Pokémon Dash – almost a decade later – I never played a Pokémon game.  Yes, I had seen a couple of the Pokémon movies but I couldn’t handle the blackouts or seizures so the Pokémon phenomenon has by and large escaped my notice, although some of it has managed to sink in.  Pokémon Dash features the mostly cute and cuddly Pikachu in a racing game instead of a game about training and beating up other Pokémon.

 

This is a foot race that will get your stylus flying, at least for a short while.

 

pokemon dash review pokemon dash review pokemon dash review

 

Most races play out in the way we’re used to – run from checkpoint to checkpoint, over land, through deserts, across ice, on the back of a Nessie look-alike and sometimes in a hot air balloon from which you can dive-bomb checkpoints.

 

Rather than use the buttons to control any of this, the stylus is used for everything.  Sliding the stylus rapidly in the direction of the arrows moves Pikachu in that direction.  That’s basically it when it comes to gameplay.

 

While you zip the stylus, you have to maintain a watch on the upper screen, which displays a thumbnail-sized radar pointing out the next checkpoint.  It’s not always useful in terms of indicating obstacles in your way, like waterways or thick forest undergrowth, which slow Pikachu considerably.  The fastest route isn’t always a straight line and sometimes you’ll have to take to the air in a hot air balloon to cross large sections of the map quickly.  But even with all the arrows and radar map I still managed to get “lost” more often than I thought possible.

 

There are five Cup races, each consisting of five races.  Placing in the top three of the Cup events is the only way to unlock proceeding events.  When they’re all unlocked a special option opens allowing a GBA Pokémon game cartridge to open a special option.  But if you get to that point let me know – I have yet to conquer the fourth Cup.

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The dexterity involved to really do well will be beyond most of the younger crowd.  I let my five-year old son try playing because he’s huge Pokémon fan but even he was asking to play Super Mario 64 DS after about ten minutes.  The opening races are easy to win, but suddenly the opposition becomes super smart and fast.  Couple that with the extreme repetitiveness of sliding the stylus to make

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Pikachu move, and it’s a recipe for a repetitive stress fracture.  The manual reiterates taking breaks often and for long periods.  I actually had to heed this advice because the rapid stylus work managed to cramp up my hand!

 

There is a multiplayer mode as well, but you'll need to find other DS owners with a copy of Pokémon Dash before you can.  While this can be an interesting diversion, it's more of the same: hand cramps.

 

Pokémon Dash trips right at the start line.  The painful hand cramps, the repetitive motion of sliding the stylus, and the extremely uneven challenge of the opponents, make Pokémon Dash a title that can be safely missed.

 

- Omni

(April 12, 2005)

 

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