Inspector Gadget's MAD Dash
After playing this game, you'll need a go go gadget Valium.
On paper, Inspector Gadget's MAD Dash should receive a perfect score. Not only does it play almost exactly like the critically acclaimed Canabalt, but the developers at XMG did an outstanding job integrating the classic TV show's personality into the game, right down to the authentic theme music and character voices. Too bad playing it makes us want sledgehammer our iPhones.
This is one of those rare cases when too much content goes wrong. XMG clearly could not decide which iconic gadgets to leave out, so the team used all of them. Problem is, that's tough when a player has little to no idea what's coming next.
Like Canabalt, MAD Dash tasks you with keeping the hero (in this case, the bumbling inspector) moving forward while clearing rooftops and avoiding obstacles, but therein lies one of the problems. XMG littered the game with banana peels that are a huge pain to avoid. On top of that, they ask a lot from the player, from dodging trains to using Gadget's extending arm to swing on cranes and floating across fans while narrowly missing electrified wires. It's a lot to take in at such a fast pace, especially when you don't have control over the character's movement.
Ultimately, this makes the game extremely frustrating. The only thing that saves it is the exquisite attention to detail and bonus content. We loved hearing that old music, the Brooks catchphrases ("wowzers") and cameos by the nefarious Dr. Claw and his pet cat.
On top of that, you can use in game currency to unlock pages of a comic book, ten episodes from the cartoon series (you need to have access to the Internet to view them), concept art and various power-ups, like rocket skates and the inflatable jacket. The game oozes nostalgia from every digital pore.
That, however, only goes so far. Had XMG made the first level a bit easier, Inspector Gadget's MAD Dash could've been one of the iPhone's best games, but it's much too busy and difficult. Then again, we downloaded it free of charge, so if you grew up watching the carton, there's still a lot to love at that price.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later.
What's Hot: Phenomenal presentation, graphics mirror the TV show, addictive Canabalt style gameplay, plenty of bonus content, free.
What's Not: Ridiculously tough, not universal.