Short and sweet is a phrase that’s, well, never been used to describe yours truly. I’m more of a tall and tart kinda guy.
Jussi Simpanen’s Duke Dashington (Gentleman and scholar) definitely falls into the former category, however. It’s a bite-size gem currently going for £1.49 at the App Store, and while it doesn’t last long, it’s absolutely deserving of your attention.
Duke Dashington is set across four temples, each with 30 rooms, and the aim in each is to escape before the room collapses. Sounds simple enough, right? Did I mention you only have 10 seconds per room?
The App Store description mentions “Simple touch controls”, though dozens of levels in I still found myself questioning how they worked. Dashing with the titular Duke definitely takes a bit of getting used to.
You can dash left or right with a swipe of the screen, but the twist is that the Duke doesn’t stop moving until he hits something. You can also jump straight up by swiping – you guessed it – from bottom to top, though only from a standing position. Mid-air dashes are permitted too. Still with me?
In terms of hazards, we have plenty of objects befitting Duke Dashington’s retro style, including moving spears (reminded me of Sonic), moving platforms, spikes, moveable blocks, switches, flowing water, rising lava, rolling rocks, and spinning flames. Phew.
And that’s Duke Dashington in a 200-word nutshell. I’ll now try to convince you that it’s worth £1.49.
Dealing with the obligatory negatives first, Duke Dashington is hella short. The mathematically adept among you might’ve already calculated that 4 temples * 30 rooms * 10 seconds = 20 minutes of gameplay, though taking inevitable fatalities and cut-scenes into account, it’s realistically more like 60-90 minutes.
And, as I mentioned before, the controls take a bit of getting used to.
On the plus side, Duke Dashington looks great, and the 120 levels are really rather varied, whether you’re pushing blocks around to negate spiky floors, being swept along by the current, or dashing to frantically avoid Indiana Jones-style boulders.
There’s also the promise of further features like Time Trial mode and scoreboards, so we’ll eventually have a modicum of replay value.
On the whole, Duke Dashington is definitely worth checking out, and though its running time is undoubtedly short, it’s a lot of fun while it lasts.
- Retro presentation
- Varied gameplay across 120 levels
- Interesting concept
- Pretty short
- The controls can be quite confusing
- No replay value at the moment
Summary: I’m sure you get the gist by now. Duke Dashington is an interesting little game that’ll keep you occupied for around 90 minutes, or 50p per half-hour. Bargain!
Developer: Jussi Simpanen
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimised for iPhone 5.