Face a reanimated mummy, bloodthirsty vampire, or salivating werewolf and you have two choices: run away or fight.

While I'm confident that fleeing from such frightful creatures would be your instinctive response, Monster Dash doubles down on a fight.

Hero Barry Steakfries has both the bravado and the bullets to stand up to such fiends, not to mention the proper footwear. An action-platformer in which speed is as important as skillfully dispatching monsters standing in your way, Monster Dash offers a spunky take on the run-for-your-life gameplay that made Canabalt a hit.

He's going the distance

There's more to Monster Dash than running and jumping with timed taps of a button situated in the lower-left corner. Enemies have to be evaded or taken out with well-timed pounces or weapons fire triggered with a tap of the attack button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

As you scurry forward, Mr. Steakfries picks up speed. This gradually increases the difficulty, making it harder to respond to the presence of monsters, health-draining obstacles, and life-ending pitfalls. Learning to time jumps, judge distance based on your running velocity, and whether attacking versus jumping is the best strategy for a given situation are all critical to going the distance.

While the game claims no regimented series of levels, you're whisked away to a new environment for every kilometre ran. This ensures variety, along with a host of special weapons picked up from shacks situated along the course.

He's going for speed

Random variety is better than predictable repetition, yet the variety here is superficial. Substantively, Monster Dash is the same experience whether you're decapitating the undead in Zombie Metropolis or putting the kibosh on mummies in Tomb Town.

The ever-increasing tempo does keep the game exciting the longer you play, although the random appearance of enemies is a point of contention. Enemies manifesting from the ground without warning can lead to unexpected and unfair damage. Rather than allowing monsters to be conjured at any moment, they ought to only appear from the edge of the screen to give fair warning of their presence.

Don't let this cause you to flee from what is an entertaining, albeit short-lived game. Monster Dash puts a spunky spin on a great portable gaming concept ideal for filling the odd free moment.

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