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Astro Boy Dash

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Astronomical crash

Product: Astro Boy Dash | Publisher: Animoca | Format: iPhone | Genre: Endless running | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.4.3
Astro Boy Dash iPhone, thumbnail 1
Japan adores and reveres Osamu Tezuka's Tetsuwan Atomu. Unfortunately, most English-speaking countries never seriously latched onto his localised counterpart, Astro Boy.

What's wrong with the world when we can't even show proper respect to an awesome little robot warrior that sprays gunfire out his bum?

Astro Boy still enjoys enough of a simmering popularity to land him in low-key mobile games like Astro Boy Dash. Sadly, though the game boasts awesome visuals and a rocking soundtrack, its cliché Temple Run-style gameplay is hobbled by crowded environments and poor controls.

Can't make me learn

Astro Boy Dash begins with Astro being lectured by his adoptive father, Professor Ochanomizu. Astro, bored with the daily lectures, breaks away from Ochanomizu and makes a run for freedom and anarchy. Ochanomizu follows in pursuit. Props to the old man: he can seriously book it.

Astro Boy's tear across the city is hampered by barriers, vehicles, potholes (seriously, tons of potholes), and sharp turns.

IAPs explained
Astro Boy Dash offers both coins and gems. You collect coins while you run, and gems are occasionally given as a reward for repeated log-ins and other events.

You can use coins to upgrade Astro and buy one-time consumables like coin magnets. You can also use coins to unlock Astro's sister, Uran, but it's not cheap.

Gems enable Astro to keep running if he messes up. You can also use gems to purchase new skins. Gems are hard to come by in-game, so if you want to collect enough to get Astro some new threads, you're almost certainly going to have to buy some.
One wrong move will result in Astro falling, or better yet faceplanting against the side of a building. Stumbling gives Ochanomizu enough time to capture his robot boy and drag him back to his lessons - sometimes literally, if you pay close attention to the illustrations that come with each failure.

Run and stumble

Count on watching Astro get hauled back to Ochanomizu over and over, because the sloppy controls in Astro Boy Dash make a long, productive run almost impossible. Moving left and right is done by tilting your device in the intended direction, which is unintuitive in itself. What's wrong with swiping?

And the inconvenience of being forced to tilt your device is exacerbated by the fact that you can't calibrate your device. You'd better get used to sitting up.

You can swipe up or down on the screen to make Astro jump over or slide under obstacles and barriers. There seems to be a tiny lag when you do this, which is more than enough time for the boy to splatter all over a laser fence or a wall.

And there are many, many fences and walls blocking your path, to say nothing of those blasted potholes. Hazards are so tightly packed together in Astro Boy Dash that it's infuriatingly difficult to make real progress.

The narrow streets don't make dodging traps easy, either. Combine all these delights with the game's shoddy controls, and you've got one un-fun endless-runner in your hands.

Astro flop

Astro Boy Dash has one bright spot: its graphics. The visuals are colorful, the animation is smooth, and Astro is adorable. The scenery even transitions from day to night as you run - provided you live long enough to see the sun set, of course.

The App Store and Google Play are both choked with poorly made endless-runners, so there's nothing remarkable about one more sub-par offering.

But Astro Boy Dash is unusually disappointing because Astro deserves so much better. As it is, yet another attempt to bring this little hero to the fore of pop culture will die a quick death.
Astro Boy Dash
Reviewer photo
Nadia Oxford | 13 November 2013
Astro Boy Dash is a sub-par endless-running game that does a disservice to one of manga's most beloved heroes
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