Indie Games, where the heart and soul is!

Star Dash #XBLIG VVG IndieVerse Review

VVG IndieVerse Reviews

“Star Dash”

By: Mr. Deeke

Today on VVG IndieVerse Reviews we’ll be focusing on an old-school platformer that puts emphasis on making the best decision–Star Dash by Rascal Haven Games. This Xbox Indie is surprisingly fun for all ages, and it has its share of challenges and aggravations, but overall it’s a fun title that anyone can enjoy.

Star Dash 80 MSP

With vertical mazes that platformer gamers will be fully familiar with, Star Dash makes players focus on strategy as every jump and decision counts. Gamers must collect as many stars as possible before the time runs out, and plan out their paths to successfully navigate to the finish line.

Star Dash

  • Developer – Rascal Haven Games (RGV Rascal)
  • Genre – Platformer
  • XBL Marketplace URLStar Dash
  • Release Date – 1/16/2011
  • Try or Buy?Try Before You Buy
  • Price – 80 MSP
  • Rating – 3/5

“Run and jump your way to the finish line while collecting as many stars as you can to get the highest score. With 100 levels, you have a better chance to get into the high score lists. Local high scores and online high scores (requires Xbox Live Gold).”

–Xbox Live Marketplace Description

I. Game Mechanics

Star Dash puts emphasis on timing and reaction skills, as players must jump across gaps and learn to navigate through vertical maze-like areas. Veterans of platformers won’t be disappointed in this game as it offers many-tiered levels and puts emphasis on item accumulation.

Gamers must collect stars to add more time as well as score points–there are many types of stars and items that players can collect–multiplier stars, small stars, and even items that add more time to the countdown. When the timer reaches zero the game is over.

Players have a finite amount of lives for any given stage, and the ultimate goal is to reach the finish line while getting a high score. The game offers a bit of a challenge as players have to sometimes think on their feet and plan out their paths, and since the screen scrolls vertically–the bottom of the screen spells doom for players if they should so fall–this can be difficult at times.

This very basic and fundamental structure offers the chance for casual gamers to enjoy this Xbox Indie–whether they are younger players or even older gamers trying to just unwind and enjoy a fast-paced, but very simple game, this is a great Indie to pick.

Image from Star Dash
A typical stage in Star Dash.

II. Weapons/Items

There are four different types of items in this Xbox Indie that supplement gameplay. Each of these types are collected and accumulated throughout the game that have many different affects. These different items are Stars (five different colored stars each with their own point value), Time Coins (these add both points and precious time to the countdown), Multiplier Coins (add to the multiplier bar), and Slow/Reverse power-ups which either slow the screen scrolling or reverse the scrolling for a limited time.

Image from Star Dash
Note the amount of stars on any given stage.

III. Unique Features

This game is unique in that it appeals gamers by the collection of a vast amount of items in any given stage. Gamers are attracted to shiny objects, especially when there’s a ridiculous amount of them in any given area. Star Dash also puts clever traps to trick some players; such as a giant clump of stars in a certain area that are impossible to get before the level cuts off.

Another unique aspect of this game is how the game scrolls vertically, that is to say the if players fall into the “void” at the bottom of the screen, the entire stage restarts. This feature makes it so players have to not only make split-second decisions but to be careful, and can expect to try the stage a few times over to get the best strategy.

The most unique aspect of this title would have to be the Multiplier Bar that fills up when certain multiplier coins are collected (the green coins with stars in them). Once this bar is full, players can press the RT to activate the Multiplier Mode–in this mode every item that is collected is magnified two-fold and all scores are doubled. This adds the ability to amass a serious amount of points in any given stage.

There are a total of a hundred stages, each of which are different in placement and design–yet the overall basic concept remains the same, to collect stars, reach the finish, and avoid falling into the lethal depths below.

Image from Star Dash
One of the later stages seen in Star Dash.

IV. Critique

The Good

It’s Simplistic and Easy to Play. Star Dash is playable by gamers of all ages, and contains no in-appropriate content that would make it so younger gamers can’t play. Overall I could see anyone enjoying this title, and it’s a great game for players who want a platformer that takes concentration but doesn’t take a huge amount of time investment or focus.

Huge Amount of Stages! With a hundred different levels and stages in Star Dash, players can choose which level they want–this is especially useful if a player is having a particular problem with a certain stage and wants a different experience. While most stages look the same aesthetically, they are differentiated in their placement of stars and items.

The Multiplier Bar. This addition to Star Dash is fantastic, and it gives players the chance to rack up some serious points, especially on certain stages. I really like this feature and I believe all gamers will enjoy it as well–earning double points for accumulating shiny stars is something that will appeal to all players.

Avatars! This game utilizes Avatars, giving players the chance to fully customize their character–all the neat threads and clothes that gamers purchase will be reflected in this game. I really enjoy Avatar-infused Xbox Indies, especially titles like these where you get to control your character in a platformer scheme.

The Bad

No Checkpoints. The major downfall of this Xbox Indie is that there are no checkpoints for stages, meaning players must replay the stage all the way over again after making one tiny mistake. This sort of punishes the gamer, and makes it so that to effectively beat a stage (and there are a hundred of them) gamers must find the perfect strategy, yet this is usually found after countless bouts of trial and error.

Image from Star Dash
Race to the finish line!

V. Wrap-Up

Overall, Star dash is a great Xbox Indie; it stays true to the independent feel that players are used to while delivering a fun and enjoyable platformer experience. I would recommend this game to players who want a chance to just have fun, collect items, and play a platformer that focuses on one thing: beating the stage in any way you can. It’s not over convoluted or complex, and with a hundred stages, players can always find a new stage to enjoy.

For more information on Star Dash and the development studio that created it, please visit Rascal Haven’s website.


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