I am not a fan of mobile games, facebook games or in-app purchases. I hate it when games make you pay money to progress or make you pay out the nose for inconsequential items that alter the look of the game. Red Tentacle Studio’s Crazy Critter Dash, however, is reasonable and fun if a little frustrating. I would recommend playing this game on a smaller mobile device, since iPads and tablets can pose some issues.
When you start up this game, you’ll see a little chubby hamster hanging out in his cage. He looks a little bored and should probably be running on a wheel to keep in shape. At the very least he should have a damn pull up bar; he is going to need every last ounce of pellet-powered hamster muscle to get him through this ordeal! I mean look at him. His cage doesn’t have paper in it, so he probably wallows in his own sewage, there is no wheel, so he must be bored. Just look at that face. Unexpressive, chewing on some object (there is no food dispenser, just a water bottle) and casting a disinterest look around his cage. He even seems to roll his head in boredom since he realizes he’s been forgotten. The reason these critters are crazy is likely due to hours of neglect by children who are off playing videogames. Possibly ones about hamsters. This little guy needs to escape. Somehow, probably by throwing his corpulent form against the bars of his cage, he manages to slip his bonds and make haste for egress! Onward Captain Snugglepants! To glory!
Hit the dash button and it’s on. Your hamster is just auto-running his chubby little ass off to the tune of something like the Benny Hill music. It’s a great time… if you can figure out what is going on. At the moment the game lacks a basic method of conveying the instructions, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. My wife tried this game a couple times and gave up because the controls were too difficult for her to figure them out, but I stuck with the game for about 10 minutes and got the game down to where I was tearing it up. Your hamster is constantly running, so this game requires some good reaction time. Rock your device left and right and the hamster will veer left and right while running. Swipe up and your hamster does a chubby hop that gets him belly-scrapingly over low obstacles. To get under obstacles, like the fucking jack-in-the-box, you need only swipe down and your hamster reaches into his repertoir of action film moves he learned in hamster stunt-school, pulling a sideways slide under the oncoming obstacle. See a turn coming up? Before you hit the turn slide your finger left or right, depending on the desired direction, and the hamster turns.
Honestly, the controls are pretty simple, but without instructions you’ll find yourself back in the cage frequently. Throughout the game you will have a number of other obstacles that you will have to overcome, as well. If you hit something, you will probably roll it off. Granted, plow into a fucking toy truck and you’ll be on your ass. But blocks and marbles you can roll over once. Do this and you tyrannical overlord, some fucking kid, starts following you, trying to grab you. Eat enough critter food, though, and you will out run the hand.
Dodging through glue traps and under lego barricades, you come to realize something terrifying. I think your owner is the toy psycho from Toy Story. It makes sense when you come up to the spartan torture devices that he made out of a fucking erector set. This kid is a lunatic and only bothers to pay attention to you when you escape, since he doesn’t want to have to clean up after you, but he’s happy to let you wallow in it. I want the rogue-like companion game to this one where you escape and sneak around the walls of the house leaving turds in this kid’s lunchables.
Should you meet the challenge, though, you will find yourself exploring a variety of treacherous boards to race along. My favorite transition so far is the hamster-tube transition. Get far enough on the first board and your hamster will have the opportunity to utilize another piece of his hamster stunt-school learning: the slow-motion sky-dive. He pulls this shit without a parachute, too! In case you missed that though, let me recap. You find a tube, intentionally set by a larger being, which leads you out a fucking window! You then freefall onto a pile of leaves below. This kid is now a fucking lunatic. Granted, you get to collect some food pellets mid-air, but that just means he tossed some food out the window after you in a moment of after-thought. Real nice. To get at those falling bits of food, you have to rock your screen similar to running. This is where I really think having a smaller mobile device helps. If you have a tablet then you feel like you are rotating this bulky, square steering wheel. I always feel the urge to lean forward and look down at the little guy as he falls. Helps the immersion. Turn on a fan under your device to really get the full effect of being a tiny critter falling through the clear sky toward uncertain doom.
Being a free modern mobile game, there are some in-app purchases, and unlike other games that inspire baby-shaking murders, this one makes them optional. On top of that, they are also reasonable. Give them 0.99$ and you get 50,000 critter food. To give you an idea, that will allow you to unlock the other two critters (a rat and a bunny) and have 20,000 critter food to spend on dress up, like a sombrero and bandolier or a space-exploration suit. Also, BUNNY! Now, you can also get the bunny and the rat without spending a dime, but if you have a “good run” like mine, you will get stuck in the yard and amass about 800 pellets max every time. Not too bad, all told. There is also a wide variety of costume sets that you can put on your critters to make them cute while they run. They’re not cheap, but again, you can get what you need just by playing the game. If you enjoy it as much as I did, you’ll end up getting a few thousand per play-session.
Getting pellets also allows you the opportunity to increase the effect of in-game pick ups. There are four different pick ups: slow, fast, shield and vacuum. The slow upgrade makes it really easy to navigate the obstacles in the game. Speed allows you to blow past everything at a high rate of speed, even allowing you to avoid traps without having to jump or slide. The shield upgrade puts you in a little hamster ball. This is really funny will give you an extra layer of protection against running into things. Grab a vacuum pick-up and you will suck in all the pellets in sight. Upgrading these makes them last longer, allowing you to get more of a benefit. There is also a continue upgrade. Want to avoid going back to the cage? You can grab critter treats to get back on your feet, but if you don’t have enough treats, you won’t be able to continue. Upgrade the continue to be able to continue dashing on with fewer treats with a minimum of 1. There is also a meter upgrade, which makes food fill your power meter faster. I am not sure what the meter does, but it has a shield on it, so I imagine it allows you to plow through obstacles without dodging, as long as it is full. If you can’t seem to get treats, you can buy them. 0.99$ will get you 25 with 4.99$ getting you the maximum of 200. Again, not a bad deal. You can even watch some videos or like them on facebook or follow on twitter for more treats and pellets. If all that isn’t enough for you, check out the leaderboards to find out how many people suck worse than you do.
Crazy Critter Dash is one of the better quality mobile games that I have seen out there. It has a few tough spots, but if you can get past some basic issues, then you’ll really have fun with this game. Hell, if you want to support the developers, throw a little money in and have a little extra fun! It is a free fucking game, after all! And you have options if you are stingy.
The thing that pisses me of the most about this title should be pretty fucking obvious by now. That kid makes me want to break my fucking foot off in his ass! Seriously! Who lets their hamster run out a window? This kid must be as fat and stupid as his pets if he really is just letting them expire in their little cages. I hope his father comes home and gives him a few cracks with his belt! Ain’t nothing wrong with a little discipline if he is keeping his child from becoming a sociopathic lunatic that tortures animals for fun.