At its heart, Must Dash Amigos takes what I hold so dear about local multiplayer racing games and delivers the same gleeful social experience while adding its own flavour of creativity and wit. I really want to place an emphasis on the “local multiplayer” part of that description, however, as this game’s primary fun and charm is found with friends on the couch playing alongside you. Outside of that, miniBeast Game Studios’ Mexican-themed racer loses longevity with shallow single-player content and the complete absence of taking the good times online.
Must Dash Amigos is not like other racing games which are typically based around some kind of vehicle. Instead, the four playable characters dash around the track on their own two feet – or, feet and knuckles in the case of Chompster. The other main difference is the camera angle, which has ascended to a top-down perspective allowing for a bird’s eye view of the racetrack.
Other than that, the game is full of classic kart racing tropes. Goofy items, environmental hazards and character customisation are all accounted for and given their own interesting spin by the developers. For instance, one of the items is a bottle of tequila that, when broken, sends the screen into a dizzying spiral. But my favourite has got to be the Gwack-a-Mole, which transforms one unlucky player into a giant avocado who is then susceptible to being smashed by the hammer-wielding instigator. It’s out-of-the-box ideas such as these that gives Must Dash Amigos its endearing personality.
Each character moves with enough speed and precision to keep running feeling seamless without losing control around tight corners. I will note that given there’s no “accelerate” button, moving entirely with the analog stick can get slippery after long play sessions. Bizarrely, a couple of the tracks have sections that required me to slow my character down to a complete stop. This could be an issue, especially on my first time playing the level, as the Amigos slide to a halt and the action of slowing down kills the flow of the race. However, overall, I found most of the track designs to be as creative as the items. I especially enjoyed the graveyard-themed level which is shrouded in darkness and only gave me a limited view of my surroundings.
Local multiplayer is where Must Dash Amigos shines the brightest. I had a blast inviting friends over to try out the “Race” mode, which is more of an endurance test than a dash to the finish line. Basically, all players share the same camera perspective meaning elimination occurs if someone falls behind the given field of view. This made for some hilarious scenarios where one of us would desperately be clinging to the outer edges of the frame trying everything in our power to keep in the contest. And “Battle” mode allowed me to unleash each of the crazy items on my friends in a handful of arenas.
Unfortunately, I was left wanting in the single-player department. The time trials and special challenges are fun to complete, and I was motivated to shoot for the gold trophy attached to each one. However, I was surprised to not see the multiplayer modes offered against CPU opponents. I would have appreciated having the option to race and battle when I didn’t have anyone to join me. Therefore, Must Dash Amigos’ best modes are locked behind having to organise a group meetup.
Even more disappointing is that I can’t even face my friends, or anybody for that matter, in online races. The complete absence of any online modes strikes me as another missed opportunity by the developers. I appreciate their dedication to keeping local multiplayer alive, and their execution in that sense is immaculate, but I was left with a shell of a really fun game in those periods of time between playing with my friends.
The presentation of Must Dash Amigos is vibrant, if simplistic. There isn’t a lot of detail on the characters or environments, but this does allow for responsive gameplay and an impressively stable framerate. I did notice a handful of technical shortcomings while playing, which mostly amounted to certain models clipping through the ground. These aren’t as obtrusive as the load times, which verge on frustrating, especially after having to sit through one every time following a failed challenge.
There is a great game within Must Dash Amigos, but its limited content takes away from its overall longevity. I had some of the best local multiplayer parties this year with this game, and its original items and racetracks gave it a unique identity. Likewise, the developers clearly put a lot of time and effort into making the gameplay smooth and responsive. But the inability to transfer those same giddy highs over to single-player or online left me a bit cold on the entire package.
Must Dash Amigos (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
I’m definitely going to keep Must Dash Amigos installed on my Switch, but I can’t see myself taking it out unless I have a group of friends looking to come over and enjoy some crazy, tequila-induced races with me.