Apple Dash HD ($2.99) by Strange Flavour Ltd. is an old fashioned platformer game that is easy to learn, but hard to master. If you’re a fan of platformers with a Donkey Kong-like feel to them, like the old Mine Runner, then Apple Dash HD is definitely one to pick up.
If there’s anything that reminds me of childhood, it’s games that carry a sense of nostalgia with them. Those games that you end up spending hours and hours on, never wanting a break, and always trying to best your own score. Yeah, those were the good old days. Fortunately, we live in a time where these can be recreated in other forms, and if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic of the old Donkey Kong games, then Apple Dash HD will satisfy your craving of arcade goodness.
The artwork in this game is initially what got my attention in the first place. Apple Dash HD features gorgeous, hand-drawn Retina resolution artwork that is colorful, smooth, and quite charming. Everything is eye candy, from the game’s bright and lush environments to the sharp text in the game menus. There is also quite a quirky soundtrack that I rather enjoyed.
There are four worlds in Apple Dash HD, and each will have 25 levels in them, so you’re looking at 100 levels with your purchase. It may not sound like a lot, but believe me — these levels get pretty tough fairly quickly. In order to advance, you will need to clear out the previous level first.
So what’s going on in Apple Dash HD? There were bees that were freely roaming, until the gloopers from Evil Corp captured them all in their vile goo. Only the young heroine, Dash, can save them. Each level will contain fruit scattered on platforms, which will be connected with ladders. You will need to help maneuver Dash to collect all of the fruit in the alloted time (indicated in the top right corner), while avoiding the gloopers that can slow you down once they touch you. There are power-ups that grant abilities for a brief amount of time, like speeding up or invincibility.
Once you gather all of the fruit, you will enter a bonus mode, where you can collect even more fruit as well as letters to spell out a word for an even bigger boon. Your score will be based on how fast it takes you to collect all of the fruit, how much fruit you collected, and how much of the bonus you end up getting. Each of these will also earn you a star.
The controls were my issue with the game. While they are simple enough with the directional buttons in the bottom left, and then a jump button in the bottom right, I found them to be a bit frustrating. The touch area for the buttons is fairly small, so I ended up going out of the touch radius for the directional buttons and ended up being stuck for a few seconds before realizing I had my thumb in the wrong spot. I am not normally a fan of tilt controls, but I think that for a game like Apple Dash HD, it would have been the best solution, with the ability to jump by tapping anywhere on the screen.
When you begin to unlock the other worlds, you’ll gain access to some of Dash’s other strange hats. These hats will alter Dash’s appearance and grant her a unique power that only that hat will provide. These include adding 15 seconds to the start of a level, more time with fast boots, and more.
The game is quite competitive, as it fully supports Game Center with leaderboards and achievements, so replay value is here.
As frustrating as the controls can be sometimes, I am still enjoying the game. It really has that nostalgic feeling of classic arcade games, and is quite a catch in terms of visuals and audio as well. I highly recommend this game if you’re in the mood for a fast-paced, challenging arcade platformer. Get it in the App Store as a universal download for $2.99.