Alien Spidy – XBLA – Review


Alien Spidy brings us a story of a not so scary spider who has crash landed on Planet Earth and who has the job of making his way through a three zones (Forest, Pond, Crystal Cave), each one featuring a series of levels with the intention of rescuing his friend.  That is pretty much the story in a nutshell.

The first thing that I noticed about Alien Spidy was how colourful and pretty the levels are.  It definitely makes the game nice to look at.  Combine this with the range of brightly coloured power-ups and animations and it would seem that you are on to a winner.  Soundtrack wise, the music is nice to listen to.  If I didn’t know any better, I would say that the music has been put in to calm you down whilst playing since the game can be very frustrating at times.


When you first get into the game you are greeted with several tutorials.  These come in very handy and explain each of the controls enough to allow you to get to grips with things.  Saying this, nothing can prepare you for the frustration that awaits once you finish the tutorial.  To say that you need nerves of steel is an understatement.  Accuracy is required and a mouth guard will save your teeth from the upcoming grinding and clenching.

The object of the game is to obviously get through each of the levels so that you can progress on to the next.  Each level that you complete though requires you to complete it as fast as possible, with as few mistakes as possible, whilst also collecting as many items as possible.  It is relatively easy to die but it is also just as easy to restart from a checkpoint if you do make a mistake.  This does cost you time and points though so while restarting the level may not be the best thing to do, it could work out the easiest thing to do just so you can start again.


The controls are a bit touch and go.  You can have one jump where you fire out a perfect web which allows you to progress through the level but on the next jump, have a totally abysmal attempt at web shooting, even though you did exactly the same as you did before.  Obviously, with you needing to get through the level as quick as possible, the changing accuracy of the controls can get a bit tedious at times.

I have been kinda torn on this game so far because of the fact that it is fun to play and amazing to look at.  It’s just a shame that the controls aren’t more user friendly as well as the fact that restarting the level often seems a better choice than going to a checkpoint throughout the game.  I would recommend giving the demo a try before paying out for this as I can’t see it suiting people who get frustrated easily.

I just make sure I am having a good day before I try playing.


Dollar Dash – XBLA – Review


When I first got around to firing up Dollar Dash, the latest offering from Kalypso Media, to say it was not what I was expecting is an understatement.  I thought I was going to be getting a game where I would have to use my unused brain cells to plan the master of all bank robberies.  I am happy to report that you do not have to be a mastermind to play this game!

First look at the game had me thinking that it wouldn’t grasp my attention for any long period of time because it looked and played very basic.  After playing for a little while, it has kept me interested and playing, eager for the next game to get my revenge on my enemies, both human players and AI.

Story wise, there isn’t one.  It’s just a group of four bank robbers trying to swindle the other out of the booty they are collecting throughout the maps.  You can pick up power-ups and perks while playing, as well as unlocking perks, disguises and other things throughout the game as you earn money from your bank heists.  Power-ups include snowballs, rockets, bombs, floor traps and fire – all of which you use against your opponents.  You also have the power-ups that can heal you, act as a shield, make you invisible, and speed you up – all of which come in handy when trying to get the upper hand.  The choice of maps are varied, giving you a nice choice to go with so the chances of getting bored after a few games are slim.


There are three game modes to choose from.  Dollar Dash, which is the mode that has you running about the map like a loon trying to pick up the cash and hoard it until you can deposit it in the getaway van, which isn’t always available.  There is a large chance that you will have oodles of cash in your swag bag and end up losing it at the last minute!  Hit and Run mode is kind of self explanatory – you only earn money when you manage to knock your opposing players out whilst also avoiding getting bashed about yourself.  Lastly, Save the Safe mode has you running around trying to capture a safe.  Once captured, keep hold of it for as long as possible as this is what earns you money.  Opponents will be chasing you around trying to knock you out so that they can steal the safe for themselves.

Because of the birds-eye view over the map, it can sometimes be a little tough keeping track of where your character is, especially in situations where all four players are attacking each other in a heap, but that is something that can happen in any game.  Each character is surrounded by a circle in their corresponding colour, so this does reduce the confusion a little – very helpful, trust me.

Dollar Dash is a game that is aimed very much at multiplayer, but it does not restrict you to just playing online.  You do have the ability to play local games so you can have a few friends round for some madness or sit with the family and try to outsmart each other.  Even if you don’t fancy playing with other people, you have the option to just play against AI player.  I do like this option as there are times when I just want to sit and play a few games of something when I have rare moments of peace and quiet.

You will notice that in order to unlock extras, you will need to earn as much cash as possible.  You earn it by stealing it – the more you steal, the more you can unlock in the upgrades, perks and disguises section.  There are upgrades available that allow you to increase the size of your swag bag, which allows you to carry more money in-game, as well as others.


I am not too sure about the longevity of Dollar Dash but for the time being, it is a lot of fun to play – even moreso when you are playing with friends or family.  Personally, I wouldn’t pay 800MSP for it either.  This is one of those games that I would wait to be Deal of the Week before buying it.  I am sure there are plenty of people out there who would enjoy this and definitely get their moneys worth out of it.