On learning of the announcement of yet another Dash game, off I well – dashed – to download mine. Despite knowing exactly what I’m going to get out of a Dash game, inexplicably I still want to play. Perhaps I’ve been brainwashed or something? Anyhoo, on to the game.
Like Parking Dash, which I reviewed not so long ago, Fitness Dash has no involvement with food whatsoever. Quite the opposite, in fact. The residents of Dinertown have been pulverised in a tug-of-war against the Meatropolis Mashers. Deciding that it’s probably a lot to do with their diet of burgers and desserts, Jo the Jogger tells her team mates that to be in with a fighting chance in the next tournament, they need to get fit.
To encourage the people of Dinertown further, Jo opens a series of gyms and offers her personal training services to the residents.
Like all Dash games, you start from the beginning, and with very little. Fitness Dash has you starting off in a small, scruffy-looking gym with very little equipment. Then you’ll be left to put the gym-goers through their paces. They’ll arrive and state whether they’re looking for weight or cardio training, and you must put them on the relevant machines for their needs. Some will need both, in which case you’ll either need to put them on the cross trainer, or be prepared to swap them over when they’re done with one exercise machine.
As per normal, that’s not all. Once someone has vacated a machine, whether it be to move to another machine, or to hit the showers, it will need cleaning. This must be done before another person can use it. These very same people will need your help whilst training. You must be on hand to give them towels and refreshments, as well as juggling them on the machines, popping them into the shower, and cleaning up after them.
There are various tricks to speed things along and keep people happy, but these come at a price. You can give a patron ‘personal training,’ which will make them train faster, but, obviously, if you’re with one person, you can’t be somewhere else at the same time.
You can give snacks which will instantly zoom someone to the end of their workout and have them ready to shower. A great tool, but one you must power up to use, and you have to remember to reset it each time. Bottles of water will add stars to a customer’s happiness level, but once they’re done with it, it gets discarded. You must then collect these up along with towels and return them to the relevant machines to be recycled. There isn’t a constant flow of water and towels so you must remember to replenish these frequently, or you’re going to end up with a lot of irate customers.
This hectic action continues for 50 levels. However, after every 10, there is a cool mini-game. The tug-of-war game which started off this whole adventure is featured. You must pit your team against a rival and make sure you win! To do this, you have rows and rows of coloured blocks which are working their way across the screen and you must match four or more to clear them. Each clear is effectively a pull on the rope, so the quicker you match and the more blocks, the faster and stronger your pulls. If you’re successful, your enemies will end up splatting in the mud, if not, you’re toast. However, it is forgiving and you can try again.
Gameplay-wise, Fitness Dash was great. It’s a fresh theme, but it’s familiar enough to appeal to the same people as the other games. The graphics did seem to take a step back for me, though. I know casual games do have very basic requirements, but it just wasn’t as pretty as some games and the menu screens just looked really old-school, sending my train of thought back to the days of Krypton Factor (which, I’ve just discovered, is making a TV reappearance next year!).
Overall, it’s more of the same with a fresh lick of paint. I was still enthralled enough to play it through to the end, but not enthralled enough to go back and get ‘Expert’ on each level or, in fact, to play again. Zero replay value – but the first time round, it’s great. Dashers will love this, but if you haven’t been convinced by the series all along, Fitness Dash will do nothing to change your mind.