If you’re a big fan of puzzle/platform titles like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, you can stop reading now, and just go download Shark Dash from Gameloft. It’s the kind of game that for the physics puzzle fan, will form a quick and wonderful addiction.
In Shark Dash, you play a cute toy shark (Sharkee) that’s in a bathtub, and doing his best to eat all the rubber duckies in the tub. Gameplay starts out simply enough, just stretch Sharkee’s tail, aim and release. The farther you’ve pulled the shark’s tail, the further and faster he’ll travel, bouncing around objects in the tub as he gobbles up rubber ducks. Simple enough, right? Not entirely (otherwise, the game would get old, and fast).
Being a physics game, there are, of course, plenty of objects into the mix for you to bounce off, crash or move around. Launch through a life preserver, and boom!, you’re flying around at rocket-like speeds, for example. As the game progresses, you’ll unlock more shark types, which feature additional powers, like Sawy, who has a sharp nose that can break chains and the like. There are four shark types in total, and each is a blast to play.
Shark Dash, being a modern Gameloft game, offers options to buy your way out of levels. While most of the time you can earn enough coins to skip levels or unlock new ones by gobbling coins scattered about a level, there may be times you just have to give up and buy packs of coins with real-world money to have enough to pass a particularly challenging level. Speaking of levels, Shark Dash features 96 levels, with more promised in the coming months. The levels are based in different geographical regions, including Japan and Ancient Rome.
Shark Dash is the kind of game that if you like physics challenges, you’ll be playing for days without end to get three stars on each level, grab all the coins, and unlock all the levels. It’s good fun, and although it seems lame for Gameloft to charge 99 cents for the game on iOS and then hit you up to buy coin packs to support your habit, it’s too much fun to get mad at. Play it an see, Sharkee’s a fun fellow to have around on the bus, train or during a work break.
Audio/Visual -4/5: It’s super cute, and looks good on both iPad and iOS
Gameplay – 4/5: Multiple additions to the basic Angry Birds format of slinging your character around, along with a huge variety of challenges make for more gameplay depth than most physics puzzlers. It does get overly complicated later in the levels, but there’s nothing impossible to be encountered.
Innovation- 4/5: It’s not going to change the world, but it does add quite a bit of fresh (and cute) gameplay to a rapidly tiring genre
Value-4/5: Paying for a game, then getting hit up with microtransactions can be frustrating in many cases, but in Shark Dash, pay-to-win isn’t a requirement, so it’s far less obnoxious.
Final Score: 4/5