Videogames, whether they’re traditional monitor-based or virtual reality (VR), for the most part tend to be fairly non-athletic. But there is a growing trend in the VR industry in creating much more physical entertainment because of motion controllers, and these are naturally based around sports. Running tends to be an issue because at present feet aren’t tracked – this may change when devices such as the Vive Tracker become more widely available. That hasn’t stopped developers trying however, and PrimeVR’s first VR title, Dash Dash Run!, does that by getting you to swing your arms as wildly as possible.
The actual technique is nothing new, with Survios’ Sprint Vector probably the best known (even though its not been released yet). It’s a simple technique that works very effectively as a means of forward locomotion, helping reduce the possibility of simulator sickness.
In Dash Dash Run! there is one main goal, getting to the end of the course as fast as possible, the faster you do so the more points you’ll score at the end. Each course has a bronze, silver and gold time which are shown prior to the race beginning. Once the race begins it’s time to start waving the controllers back and forth to build up speed, whilst you tilt your head to steer.
None of the courses are a straight shot, they’re littered with obstacles that can slow you down should you come into contact with them. There are also items that can aid a win and improve scores at the end. A double green arrow adds a quick speed boost, while a red icon grants a temporary shield so you can run though objects. Whilst these two are sparsely found on courses, the tracks are littered with gold coins which all add to that final score.
Dash Dash Run! is very energetic, it’s cartoon aesthetic belies an quite intense videogame that’ll have you sweating in no time. The basic nature of the controls means that it’s very easy to pick and start playing straight away – there’s no tutorial to speak of – just choose a course and start. The biggest issue with Dash Dash Run! are the amount of levels available, there’s currently only four, and with three of them requiring a gold time of around thirty seconds you’re going to get through them very quickly – the rainbow road style track will take over a minute which certainly makes those arms burn!
There is a worldwide leaderboard so that even if you get gold you may not rank highly, encouraging you to go back for another try, and you do get to compete against the other top players during each race. Aside from that there’s very little else to Dash Dash Run! It does have a few quirky additions, such as the avatar selection button which will randomly create your character and name – sometimes to amusing effect. Plus at the start and end of each race you can make gestures at the crowd or taunt your opponents with a selection of gestures using the HTC Vive’s touchpad.
Dash Dash Run! is a fun, novel videogame that’s great if you want a quick workout to work up a sweat. Unfortunately, there’s so little to the title after running the small amount of courses a few times that after about half an hour you’ll be done, moving onto something that’s got more to offer.