Jun 18, 2012
You can loosely divide games into two types: those in which its possible to win, and those in which the player is left putting off the inevitable for as long as possible – high score games. In Gingerbread Dash, the player controls a Gingerbread Man running away from a hungry fox, and without wanting to give away spoilers for anyone unfamiliar with the children’s tale this is based on, the fox arrives right at the end of the book. The bit just before The Gingerbread Man leaves it. The two are connected.
Gingerbread Dash plays like a sidescrolling Doodle Jump. The screen scrolls to the left, with all kinds of increasingly perilous platforms to jump between, and hazards to avoid: the crow, for example, will grab the player in its beak and pull you straight to the chasing fox’s mouth for an instant game over. The fox is always chasing the player – a huge nose and mouth that fills the left hand side of the phone screen when it gets too close, meaning the player can’t spend too much time jumping around trying to grab the stars that fill the screen.
But it’s in the interest of the player to collect these: grab 10 of them and a power-up will appear in the world: a bomb to destroy all other enemies, or an ice cream to fire the Gingerbread Man further along the map, and delay the fox’s approach that little while longer. But eventually, just like in the story, the plucky Gingerbread Man will make for a lightly spiced stomach lining, and it’s all too easy to press ‘play again’, after seeing how the run compares against other fallen Gingerbread Men. It’s pretty addictive stuff, following a well trodden formula – a sort of mashup of Doodle Jump and Canabalt.
The Gingerbread Man is always jumping up and down, and the player’s control comes from tilting the handset enough to send our sugary hero onto a platform, and not straight into a crow’s mouth. Its a little inexact at times, but for the most part works well enough. The game is very nice to look at too, with a bold crayon palette that fits the subject matter, and looks pretty sharp on screen. The sound fares less well, with the squeaking jumping noise enough to ensure most players turn it off pretty much instantly.
It’s pretty hard to find any serious fault with, and those it has are shared with other games of its type: it’s repetitive, simplistic and a little on the frustrating side at times. That doesn’t stop it crying out for one last go, just to see if that fox can be kept at bay that little bit longer…