A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – DaGeDar
Version – Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: ‘E’ – Everyone
Obtained – Review copy from Gamemill Entertainment
Being a nostalgic gamer, I must first say that this game reminded me of a combination of the classic Marble Madness for the Nintendo Entertainment System and F-Zero franchise. If Marble Madness was beefed up with unique ball options, 30 some levels, and racing laps around courses kind of similar to F-Zero; then you would have this amazingly fun game DaGeDar.
Gameplay & Controls
This game had reminded me of Marble Madness since the player controls a ball-like sphere or DaGeDar and competitively races against one other DaGeDar. The objective is clear; you must cross the finish line before the other DaGeDar. Each course consists of five races, the victor winning three of the five. Another mode to play is Time Attack where your DaGeDar goes against the clock. In this mode, you simply must beat the target time.
Players control their own DaGeDar, and must move, jump, dodge and turbo their way through each race. Each race is unique and has different obstacles to dodge, gaps to be jumped and hills and loops to turbo through. This is a fast paced racing game similar to F-Zero since decisions to dodge or jump need to be planned ahead. Each level also has several cannons that launch you up and around to excel the speed for a short period. Each race isn’t cut and dry either, there are numerous alternate paths to be found, oftentimes shortening your lap time by seconds.
There are numerous unlockables available from playing through the game. The player starts with a choice between ten different DaGeDars to choose from with different stats. The player must decide if they want DaGeDars with higher amount of speed, acceleration, control or one with a balance of these stats. New courses unlock when races are won in championship mode where you race against an AI DaGeDar.
Additional DaGeDars are unlocked when winning against the DaGeDar in Championship mode, or beating the target time in Time Attack. There are over 100 different DaGeDars that can be unlocked. Also, when you beat the Novice League in Championship mode, Pro League will unlock and another league will unlock after that. Time Attack is just one race at a time with each level being available when it is unlocked in Championship mode. The initial selection of the available DaGeDars, is limited as they all have one bar of speed, varying one to three bars of acceleration, and varying one to five (max) bars of control.
The game also features a practice mode and multiplayer. Practice mode allows the player to take their time through the race to practice the course at their own pace. This allows the player to find the fastest routes through the race without it counting against you or having to play the other courses. In Multiplayer you can host a game, join a game, or play locally on a single cart.
The controls are simple and just use the D-pad (or circle pad on a 3DS), Y and B. The touch screen is not used except for menus (which can still use D-pad and buttons to make selections). This makes it easy to play and does not complicate the game with different buttons to press at different times. Y is used for turbo by pressing and holding while the player has turbo to use. There are recharging spheres throughout the race that slowly recharge the turbo so the player must use turbo at the most opportune points in the race, such as going up into a loop, going uphill, or charging through the sand-like pits that slow the player down while they attempt to just move through it. B is used to jump over gaps, or jumping to a higher alternate path. Missing a jump or even overshooting a jump lands the player in an electric field where the DaGeDar is then reloaded just seconds prior to the jump.
The main issue I had with this game is that the difficulty appears to be harder than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I love difficult games as much as the next gamer, but seeing how this is targeted towards DaGeDar fans (a younger audience), the difficulty seemed to start off pretty high off the bat. The player needs to make sure to practice the courses in either Time Attack or Practice mode first so that they have an idea where all the jumps are, and the shorter alternate paths to take during Championship mode. With the first league being called “Novice” I found it more to be a pro league, since in Championship mode the AI will only make the majority of their mistakes on the first lap, and will take the faster routes on the second to final laps. So if the player is still unfamiliar with the race or having trouble making jumps, it can be difficult to beat or catch up to the Novice DaGeDar.
Visuals and Sound
The visuals are mostly pretty basic with a 2D background picture behind the race. The course outlines and DaGeDar designs are pretty solid and met my expectations. The DaGeDars have unique faces on their ball-like spheres and differently themed. The cannons are looking sharp as a futuristic type of launching device, and the zip pads are clearly visible as an orange color. The sand-like pits are off-colored from the main track and are somewhat hidden to make the races more difficult. The sound is very upbeat and within the techno/electronic genre which makes sense for this futuristic type of race. I enjoyed the sound as I am a fan of that music type and it goes along with the race perfectly. The sounds from being launched from a cannon or when going over the zip strips are very basic but they clearly work making the game very enjoyable.
Final Score - 8 out of 10
DaGeDar is clearly geared towards younger boys with a fast pace racing and DaGeDar designs. The controls are simple enough for anyone to play, and I found myself able to enjoy playing this game without being familiar with DaGeDars. I enjoy a game with a bit of difficulty to make sure you don’t easily win the game and put it down. I felt obligated to practice up to beat the AI. Overall the game creates a very enjoyable experience and I believe anyone of any age can enjoy this unique fun, addicting, and challenging game.
+ Fast pace racing
+ Simple controls
+ Plenty of unlockables
+ Multiple difficulty levels
+ Good graphics/sound
+ Multiple modes, including multiplayer
- Difficulty can be difficult for children
- Music may not appeal to everyone