As we prepare ourselves for the Gamestage conference, we wanted to take a moment to talk about our debut game, Dash BOO Dash. Not necessarily a postmortem but rather a look at the game, its mechanics, mayhaps revealing some tips and tricks and other little goodies.
Dash BOO Dash is a unique take on the endless runner, platforming genre of casual arcade games. It does this by putting the player in a gamescape that scrolls from top to bottom and the character running vertically, where other games move side to side, with the character traversing platforms under-foot. Many other platformers are firmly rooted in the natural laws of physics and nature by mimicking reality with the way the avatar moves through the environment and how they interact with gravity and the ground. Dash BOO Dash literally flips that trope on its side, now we have a character running against "gravity". Not only that, but she is able to run on any surface parallel to her vertical direction of movement. Test Subject 13OO (aka BOO) is a character not bound by gravity or ground in the normal sense of a platformer. Furthermore, add her ability to propel herself perpendicular to the surface she is running on, i.e. she can jump off the wall she is running on and move in the direction of her jump indefinitely until she lands on another wall.
Now you may be like, "whatevs man/woman, I've seen crazier things in a load of other games...", and my response to you is, "hush, I'm not finished yet."
So far, we have vertical running and multi-surface platforming, but don't forget that BOO has another special power. She can spawn platforms, at will, that propel her in the opposite direction of her movement. Let's say BOO is moving right through the air, the player taps the screen and BAM, an energy platform is spawned right under her feet and suddenly she's careening to the left just as if she had jumped off a real platform. Suddenly the game has an extra dimension, BOO doesn't just have one jump or a double jump, she can spawn infinitely many platforms and continue changing the direction of her jump indefinitely. Don't want to run on the wall? Don't have to!
Things are getting spicy now huh, but hold on... we're forgetting something... what was it... OH! That's right, we have enemies! Yes, BOO must also dodge oncoming hordes of Globo-Cops! These fools don't move much but act more like barricades in BOO's path in order to stop her. If you run into them it's game over, and these Globo-Cops always seem to appear in the most inconvenient of spots during your run. So how do you take care of these fascist automatons? Well, remember how BOO can jump? Well, when she jumps she can also burst through these enemies with a satisfying explosion and continue on her merry way. But there's a catch! BOO can only destroy these guys MIDJUMP, ie you can never attack these enemies head on while running. You must hit them at an angle while jumping.
So now you may be like, "ok, that's a good amount of stuff BOO can do, but why?" Well the globo cops force you to jump off the wall where many players might feel most comfortable staying and will make for a boring game. Plus, being able to destroy Globo-Cops with your jump will encourage people to use the jump and have fun with it rather than just dodging outcroppings of walls and enemies with it (not to mention the added score bonus for destroying enemies). Suddenly the player is empowered. Not only that, but the multi-jump feature further enhances that player empowerment by putting you in full control of how many times BOO jumps as well as when and how often, without worry of running out of jumps. The challenge becomes how to use the multi-jump well without losing control of BOO or disorienting yourself, as well as knowing when to land on the walls and knowing when to rely on your wall running.
All of these features and character abilities are controlled by a single player gesture: the tap. That's right, the player taps once which initiates BOO's jump; tap again and she spawns an energy platform and her jump direction changes, all the while she is enveloped in an aura indicating that she can burst through enemies if she encounters any in her flight path. The player can continue tapping and ricocheting BOO off of her energy platforms or simply allow her to touch down safely on a wall that is parallel to her vertical movement, and she continues running.
Empowering our players in the simplest and most accessible manner possible without overly complex controls is our goal here. The game takes some getting used to as it is fairly different from other games of this genre out there. We like to think of it as "Platforming Redefined".
p.s. if you've read this far, you're either a great fan and supporter, or you have an abnormally long attention span of more than 3 minutes. Either way, our reward to you is this little secret: If you look closely at the intro sequence, you can see a QR code tattooed onto BOO's left arm. Now, we're not trying to tell you what to do, we're just letting you know that there's something there which can be seen more clearly on the Dash BOO Dash page of our website... just saying...