The Impossible Dash: difficult, addictive, yet insanely fun

The Impossible Dash screenshot

What better way to title a game than with what is essentially its own description? Yes, The Impossible Dash is an iOS game that involves dashing... impossibly. You start out as a tiny green square and your job is to avoid every obstacle that comes in your way, while collecting orbs to give you a boost. It's a side-scrolling game somewhat reminiscent to something like the Super Mario Bros. series, except there's no heroic people or cheerful color schemes here. It's just plain difficult instead. The Impossible Dash is free with in-app purchases.

You start out on level one, your character being just a square. As soon as you tap the level, the game kicks off showing no mercy and you must simultaneously gather up orbs and dodge the obstacles. There are two visual obstacles at least in level one that you face: spikes and basically anything highlighted in red. These could be anything from floor tiles to the sides of platforms.

The controls couldn't get any simpler: tap once to jump. The game is already moving your character along at a constant speed, so there's no need to worry about managing your movements. As we know with examples like Squiggle Racer, however, it's the games with extremely basic controls that often leave us feeling like we need an intervention for addiction.

The Impossible Dash screenshot

What's even more addictive about The Impossible Dash is that the game is different every time you play it. The orbs are never in the same place as the previous round and neither are obstacles or platforms. Everything is placed at random so you can't memorize your way to a new high score. It's just flat out difficult, folks.

You should focus on snatching up those orbs that sporadically float along your continuous path. They act as an in-game currency to buy boosts, and you start out with 1,000 of them. The boosts are slow motion, which slows time down for 10 seconds to more easily dodge obstacles, super slow motion for 20 seconds, and "Save me!" granting you an extra life to proceed in the game after you've crashed. You get three of each slo-mo and five life savers to boot.

When you run out of orbs after spending them, The Impossible Dash offers in-app purchases for packs of orbs ranging from US$1.99 to $29.99. There's also an option to pay a fee and get rid of the somewhat annoying ads that pop up and consume the display after almost every game.

My high score is 3,335 and that's after using multiple slow motion boosts and all five of my life savers. Bear in mind that this is only on level one. I couldn't even make it to the second level, unless I was willing to pay with orbs to unlock it. (Spoiler alert: I wasn't.)

The Impossible Dash screenshot

What I love about The Impossible Dash is that despite how insanely addictive and hard it is to get through, it's also not terribly frustrating. Every time I lost the game, and there were many, I never felt an urge to fling my iPhone across the room like I did with Flappy Bird. I was just determined to try again, suppressing any fleeting moments of anger.

The Impossible Dash is a terrific side-scroller I'd recommend to just about anyone as long as they don't mind getting hooked. It's free for iPhone and iPad.