Dot Dash: Episode 1 is an indie title brought to us by independant developer Drop Dead Interactive, creators of Gladiators Escapade and Zombie Concentration. DDI started out from humble beginnings as a way to experiment with programming techniques learned through university courses and has blossomed into a sizeable indie games developer in it’s own right.
Drop Dead Interactive aims to deliver a variety of approachable games from many genres such as shooters role playing games etc, this time aiming to capture the pick-up-and-play aspect of mobile games for the indie games market with Dot Dash: Episode 1. Being a hardcore gamer I don’t often pick up indie games, but on occasion a game such as this catches my eye and I realize that although the indie market may be small it still has a lot to offer.
Dot Dash is a simple yet well-presented title with colourful visuals and an easy to learn, but hard to master premise. The goal in Dot Dash is to guide your Cog around the game’s arena using the left analogue stick, dodging multicoloured obstacles in a survive-or-die scramble.
Dot Dash features three game modes that each provide a diferent challenge; The first being marathon, in this mode the player collects scattered gems in order to infuse their cog with a specific colour, they can then use this powered-up state to obliterate incoming blocks of the same colour. The powerup lasts but a few seconds so you’ll have to be quick and attentive or your prey will smash you to pieces upon impact.
Time extension mode is reworking of a traditional survival mode in which the player begins with one minute on the clock, collecting white gems adds precious time and can speed up your cog to get out of sticky situations. Lasting as long as you can is the ultimate goal.
Finally, Zones mode tasks you with reaching and staying within silver zones that move periodically in order to score points. Stay too long and you’ll be crushed by careening blocks so each second spent gaining points is a gamble.
Besides a somewhat questionable logo and a soundtrack that does grate on you rather quickly, Dot Dash has a pleasing aesthetic and handles smoothly. Achievement-esque “awardments” are given for passing milestones (reach one million points, achieve a 10x multiplayer in marathon mode and so on) and progress is recorded via ingame leader boards.
The game is very good at getting it’s claws into you and making you say “just one more try”, I couldn’t help myself but play another. And when you get into “the zone” and are whipping between blocks racking up high scores, Dot Dash can be a very rewarding little experience.
The lack of multiplayer and online content is a bit of a hindrance, I found, but in terms of solid mechanics and mindless gameplay, you could do a lot worse than Dot Dash: episode 1 and for just 80 ms points It’s a great way to waste an afternoon.
Dot Dash Episode 1 is available in the indie section of Xbox Live Arcade for just 80 Microsoft points, well worth a look at.