Dolphin Chase ($0.99) by Sanne Meijer is an underwater endless runner game with a message. Save the dolphin from poachers in the game and save dolphins from poachers in real life by spreading the world to your friends.
The game starts with the tragic tale of Dusty the dolphin who wandered into Taiji waters, “an area notorious for dolphin trade” and must escape imminent death at the hands of greedy poachers.
To escape, players tap the screen to make Dusty dive and let go of the screen to make him swim upward. To increase speed, Dusty must eat fish. He stays ahead of the poachers without needing to eat for about 10 seconds. As the clock runs down, so does Dusty, and without more fish, he will be caught by the poaching boat and what happens next is censored.
While swimming and eating fish, Dusty will run into various obstacles, like planks of wood or random garbage. He also has other sea life to contend with in this underwater chase. If he runs into a squid, the screen will be covered with ink and you won’t be able to see where to go next. If Dusty runs into a jellyfish, he’ll receive an electric shock that will temporarily paralyze him.
There are also power-ups that help Dusty get through the rough seas. Small bubbles float around in the water that change at regular intervals. Sometimes Dusty will get an armor bonus that will protect him from anything in his way. He can also pick up a bonus that will make him invisible to the other sea life or a speed bonus that will shoot him through the water without him needing to eat any fish.
When the poacher catches Dusty he gets the spear. Although there is no real violence, it is a reminder that many dolphins don’t escape from death by greedy hunters. After the game ends, a fact about dolphin poaching appears on the screen. There is also a link to ways you can help by posting something to Facebook or Twitter about issues with the killing of dolphins in Japan.
As underwater endless runner games go, this is nothing special. However, 50 percent of your purchase of this game will go toward a non-profit organization called “Save Japan Dolphins,” so you money goes to a worthy cause. Honestly, I was a little put off about the barrage of dolphin-saving sentiment at first. It’s not that I don’t care about dolphins, I’m just not used to environmental organizations tapping into my morality while I’m playing casual games. However, after I visited the website, I realized that it really is important to raise awareness of the issue and what better way then through a fun game.
If you are looking for a new and exciting game in the endless runner genre, you won’t find anything unique here, but if you are passionate about saving dolphins from being poached into extinction, buy this game and spread the word. If you don’t really know anything about the issue, visit SaveJapanDolphins.org to see why dolphins are in danger.