Do you like electronic dance music? Do you enjoy games that crank the difficulty up to extreme and then break off the knob? Do you have the reaction times of a hummingbird? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions then many hours of enjoyment awaits you in Dub Dash. If you answered “No” to any of the questions your time with the game will probably be tinged with a touch of frustration.
Dub Dash is a rhythm based action game, but don’t expect something tranquil where you can sit back and enjoy the beats. Instead it is a fast paced battle for survival as you try to steer your wheel past a gauntlet of deadly obstacles. Touch anything on the levels apart from the special music notes scattered about and it is instant death. Even worse, unless you built up a stash of extra lives by playing the “challenge” mode it is back to the very start of the level.
Don’t expect any type of story or justification for your actions in this game. It is all about reaching the portal at the end of each level segment and continuing to do so until the music stops. Initially you are dumped in what appears to be a trench running through a spherical equalizer where your only goal is to dodge left or right to avoid hazards. Reach one of the portals at the end of each section however and you might be confronted with a brand new mode. The worst of these is a type of Flappy Bird style mode where you have to keep your craft aloft without crashing into the scenery. There are also modes where the action is viewed from above and just when you think you have the hang of things you encounter sections where you move in the opposite direction. In total there are seven different modes and the changes in playing style makes an already difficult game feel borderline impossible at times.
Fast reaction times is a must for Dub Dash as the slightest mistake is usually instantly punished. Since having to restart a level from scratch is really annoying it is best to play the random levels available in the “Challenge” mode to stock up on extra lives. You earn five for each successful run, but can only accumulate a total of 15. This might sound like more than enough to complete the regular levels, but you still need plenty of practice, especially on later tracks. Some sections instantly throws an obstacle right in your path, so while you are still getting used to the shift in perspective or playing style it is already too late. Fortunately, there is a “Practice” mode where you can continue from the start of each section as many times as you need to complete the level. The bad news is that the song that ordinarily plays is replaced by a generic tune when you switch to practice mode. You are also required to complete a level before the next one is unlocked and this cannot be done with practice mode.
Dub Dash was previously released on mobile, so the visuals are not exactly state of the art, but they are certainly colorful and get the job done. The speed at which the game moves means there is never any time to stop and admire the scenery in any case as you must concentrate on what is coming at you. You might notice some shifting colors and wobbling scenery in your peripheral vision, but take your eyes of your craft and you can kiss it goodbye. The controls are very responsive, so crashing into something is usually due to your own slow reflexes.
The soundtrack of Dub Dash contains some very nice electronic dance music, which is awesome if you are a fan of the genre. If not you are out of luck as there is no option to import your own tunes. The music synchs nicely with the colorful visuals and when playing while wearing earphones it is hard not to nod your head along with the beat. Doing this is not recommended however as it typically results in your sphere smacking into something because you were not paying attention. In fact it would probably be best if you don’t blink at all while playing (note: this is obviously not recommended and we take no responsibility for anyone attempting such a feat).
As much as we like the soundtrack, which features music from Bossfight as well as the Djs of Geometry Dash, the game makes it a bit hard to really enjoy the tunes until you have mastered a level. You see every time you crash your sphere the level restarts and along with it the music. This means that often just as you really get into the music it ends and restarts. Due to the nature of the game this is probably unavoidable, but one difficult levels it can feel like trying to listen to scratched CD. When you tire of punishing yourself with the difficulty of the game you can round up a few friends for the four player split screen mode and share the pain. The multiplayer is actually quite enjoyable, but restricted to local mode only and not online unfortunately.
Dub Dash is a game that starts out tough and then just continues to increase the difficulty. Successfully completing levels requires plenty of practice and a bit of memorization, but pulling it off is very rewarding. Players who have patience, perseverance and above all, good reflexes will enjoy the challenge, but those without decent hand eye coordination need not apply. The eye catching visuals, thumping soundtrack and fast paced gameplay make it worth a look, but don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.