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11 September, 2014

Duke Dashington Review

Adventure Islands Games first developed Duke Dashington for Ludum Dare, a competition where participants are given 48 hours to develop a game inspired by a theme - Duke Dashington's theme is "10 seconds." For its transition from PC to the App Store, developer Jussi Simpanen has added over 100 rooms and three additional temples, which is a good thing. Everything about this game, from the vibrant pixel graphics to the classic 8-bit soundtrack and simple but frantic gameplay - evokes fond memories of classic SNES titles, like DuckTales.

Unlike his next-gen adventure hero counterpart Nathan Drake, the dashing Duke has no time for snappy one-liners or romantic pursuits. You've only got 10 seconds to escape each crumbling room, and you do so by manoeuvring the Duke around obstacles and pitfalls with a swipe of the touchscreen. Those of you familiar with Pokémon Gold and Silver's Mahogany Town gym may notice some similarities in the puzzles here, as once you rocket off in any direction, you're committed to the dash.

The puzzles aren't exactly mind-bending, but the 10 second frame makes the hurried scramble for the exit a stressful and hectic challenge. Unfortunately, there are some issues with controls that add to this difficulty. Transitioning from a horizontal dash to a vertical dash. or vice versa. can be tough, as you've got to be painfully accurate with the orientation of your swipes. When you can and can't swipe isn't really explained either. I learnt purely through some frustrating trial and error that you can swipe horizontally during a vertical dash, but not vertically mid-horizontal dash.

Asides from these minor issues, Duke Dashington is a pithy if busy puzzler that will leave you wanting more. I finished the four temples in just over an hour, which for a game where each level lasts no more than ten seconds, means a whole lot of gameplay in such a tiny package.

Grab the game here.


Brodie Fogg

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