Nintendo have certainly rolled out the big guns for the launch of their new console. Although a true Pokemon role-playing game is not due for a while yet, the little critters have made their way onto the Nintendo DS via a rather more unusual route.
Pokemon Dash is a racing game viewed from a top down perspective, making its most obvious point of comparison the old Codemasters Micro Machines games. You control one of a dozen or so Pokemon (more courses and monsters can be added to the game if you have a copy of one of the previous GBA games) around an ostensibly simple course of checkpoints.
The big gimmick with the game is that instead of using the D-pad as in a normal race game you have to physically move Pikachu and pals by constantly rubbing the screen as if the stylus was the little fella's scampering feet. Controlling direction at the same time creates a surprisingly tactile game where you almost feel you've got as much exercise as your chosen Pokemon. You have to hit checkpoints in a certain order and the game soon introduces sections where you have to use balloons or the Nessie-like Lapras to cross water, with the former forcing you to skydive to the ground aiming directly at the checkpoint.
As fun as it is, this is an almost unapologetically simple game, with little additional depth revealing itself once you've got the hang of the basic principles. It's still entertaining though and dedicated Pokemon fans in particular will lap it up.
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