October 8th, 2008 | By Mike Gnade
Dirk Dashing is a very solid platformer that lacks innovation and focuses on classic “safe” platform gameplay. Dirk Dashing definitely charms with its presentation and hand-drawn graphics, but suffers in the gameplay department. It’s a solid game, and definitely seems to be targeted towards kids…except that it is fairly difficult. If you are a fan of the classic platformer, like the genre, have an affinity for Bond, or are particularly taken by the Demo, then this game is for you and warrants a purchase. I’m just not sure if the game offers enough to more avid gamers to really keep them interested. It’s not that Dirk Dashing is bad… it’s gameplay is just more in the category of enjoy the demo as an afternoon distraction and forget about it after that. I’m not sure if it really pulls you in and entices a gamer enough to warrant a purchase.
Pros: Classic Platforming of yore which is instantly accessible and challenging: move, jump, throw… that’s it. Controls are very responsive and the gameplay is solid with some neat spy gadgets. Great nonviolent gameplay for children.
Cons: Game is targeted towards kids, but may be too hard for them (though back in the NES days there was Ninja Gaiden and I loved that game and was like 7). YOU CANNOT hurt enemies by jumping on their heads! That definitely takes awhile to get used to, especially since I reckon that jumping on someone’s head would hurt them a lot more than me. The spy gadgets are really more like power-ups, x-ray specs, spring shoes, etc. that are time-limited rather than gadgets that increase and upgrade your abilities.
Pros: By far the best feature of the game, the graphics are beautifully drawn and the multi-layers and parallax scrolling really give the game a lot of depth and a real 3-D feel. The hand drawn graphics just go a long way and really make this game unique and distinctive.
Cons: I could’ve used more frames of animation. I love the idea of cartoon slapstick in the game, but it’s not rewarding seeing a guy bop his head on a wall when the end result is a comical, but choppy result. This carries over to even the regular animations as well and is really the only sour point of the graphics….basically they look great in still frame, and while the backgrounds are pretty rad in motion, the game objects suffer.
Pros: The music is very good, chill, and fits the spy motif. Many of the sounds work and sound straight out of a Hanna Barbera cartoon.
Cons: Other sounds just are not my cup of tea. The Boing of Dirk’s jump is just way too much. I get that Dirk Dashing is a living cartoon, but cut me some slack on the sounds I’m going to hear every other second.
Lasting Appeal: 5/10
Pros: Plenty of levels that are very diverse in look and feel. A decent story and solid gameplay that will keep you playing if platforming is your thing.
Cons: Generic gameplay. I love platformers, and this game is very solid, but just offers nothing new in gameplay: you collect coins/money for points, you collect apples/food, and there is the occasional power-up or door switch, but there is no mechanic that is really distinctive and fun. I mean Mario had the fire-flower, mushroom, and later the raccoon suit, etc., Bionic Commando had a grappling hook, and Castlevania had a whip and a sort of open world to explore. The game has an instantly classic feel, but doesn’t offer enough to keep you playing unless you are a diehard platforming fan.
This game is really a testament to games as a source of art. I really can’t complement the graphics enough. It actually looks a lot like Paper Mario. That’s really impressive especially considering the size of the development team and that this is an Indie game and not some Nintendo first party title. Yes, the gameplay is nothing new, but it’s not bad either. Try the demo over at My Game Company, you may just find that the classic platforming gameplay is something that you have missed and been pining for along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kid Icarus, Kirby’s Dreamland, and Offroad.