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App Review – Bits and Bites: Wild Dash
If there’s one mobile genre that I can’t help but return to time and again, it’s the endless runner. From Jetpack Joyride to Time Surfer, it’s my go-to genre of choice when I need to pass some time. Waiting in line at Universal Studios and Disney theme parks during my latest travels to Japan was much more enjoyable given that I was conquering high scores instead of staring at the backs of peoples heads. With this in mind, it felt somewhat serendipitous to meet Doug Hand and George Zafir, the two gentlemen that make up developer Wildebits while waiting in line for the Halfbrick panel at PAXAus 2014.
Bits and Bites: Wild Dash is the first retail release from Wildebits for both Android and iOS. The star of Bits and Bites is Ralph, a buffalo who also happens to be the studio mascot. Ralph is tasked with protecting his herd from hungry coyotes whilst simultaneously collecting coins and avoiding obstacles like cacti, rocks and scorpions. Mechanically, Bits and Bites is an endless runner that plays across three horizontal lanes using landscape mode on your chosen device. Swiping up and down switches between lanes, while tapping fires a projectile from Ralph’s rump. That’s right, Bits and Bites is technically the worlds first ‘endless pooper’, at least on Android – the iOS version required some censorship before Apple would release it. Achieving a high score in the game can get quite challenging, as not only do you have to juggle oncoming obstacles but also make sure the coyotes can’t overtake Ralph as there is no way to fire forward. Occasionally, a chilli pepper item will appear randomly to provide a fiery burst of speed, propelling Ralph through the desert. A recent update allows players to switch lanes while boosting. This means that on a particularly chilli-dense run, a skilled player can chain boosts together and achieve some great scores.
Bits and Bites employs a free-to-play model with ads occasionally displayed between rounds. Microtransactions exist in the form of costumes for Ralph that also alter the projectile he fires. Most costumes can be bought using coins earned in game, while a few are only available through purchase, although real-money purchase removes all ads from the game. The costumes inject some extra humour into the game, ranging from a Top hat with tails that shoots pocket watches to a Dark Knight outfit, complete with Batarang. My favourite however has to be the construction worker outfit that sees Ralph shooting bricks behind him.
Bits and Bites is simple to grasp and difficult to master, with a high score functionality and quick loop time to help promote that ‘one more turn’ mindset. At the time of writing, I’m happy to say I hold the #1 spot on the leaderboards, showing how much time I’ve been sinking in. With a solid range of microtransactions and no pressure to pay, Bits and Bites is worth trying for anybody with the storage space to spare.
Bits and Bites: Wild Dash was reviewed on iOS with an iPhone 6. No in-game currency or unlocks were provided by the developers.
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It was whilst toiling away in the bowels of the now mythical Australian Gamer forums that Stephen’s attempts at writing were recognised by then up-and-coming Matt ‘Hewso’ Hewson as “not terrible”. Since then he has contributed to such sites as The Age’s now defunct Screen Play, the now-long retired Black Panel and currently serves under Editor-in-Chief Hewso for Player2.net.au, at least until the pattern of decline obvious in his previous engagements is picked up on by Hewso and he is exiled from games journalism forever.
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