Demolition Dash is an Adorable Little Rampage

The cops are yelling something at me in French—I think it's "We're cops!"—but, like a two-year-old with a head of steam, I pay them no mind, knocking over everything in my way and screaming at whatever won't move.

Demolition Dash doesn't put you at the wheel of a terrible toddler but something just as cute, heedless of authority, and nearly as destructive: a pink dino named Zilla, who splashes ashore in eight cities to wreak havoc in this entertaining, side-scrolling platformer for all iOS devices.

The rampaging two-year-old comparison is apt because, as Zilla, you can't control your speed or momentum. That's bad news for anything in your path, but bad news for you if it's a police vehicle, chopper, or a pit.

To negotiate both hazards you must use your jump and a roar, one that's really more of a cute snarl. But it's powerful enough to knock over a SWAT van provided you're in range. If you don't leap over a police vehicle or scream it down, you lose a chunk off your tail, representing your life. Your tail has three chunks. Hit four hazards and the level is over. The game's two controls are on virtual buttons, out of the way in the lower corners (and invisible after you get the knack of where they are).

The simplicity of the controls and the fact you can either leap over cop cars or roar them off the board gives you a false sense of ease. After a light introduction courtesy of Paris, Moscow begins to show you how out-of-control things can get. The real difficulty comes in not knowing exactly what's ahead of or underneath you, if you've used a higher score. The course entices you to pop colorful balloons for a score multiplier, but those paths usually take you higher up the board and leave you with a split-second decision to keep from strolling off a ledge into a pit.

Roars take a short time to recharge but otherwise are unlimited. You can get a brief powerup that increases the blast radius of your roar and eliminates its recharge, for a brief time. Other powerups give you unlimited jumping or temporary invulnerability.

Though in many respects a conventional platfomer, Demolition Dash has plenty of appeal, principally from its wacky soundtrack, colorful motifs and Zilla's winning personality. Each level presents its own achievement, so even if you bull through Sydney with no tail left at the end, there's a little incentive to go back and do it right.

Demolition Dash is another well designed, well illustrated 99-cent game on a platform that has no shortage of them. The difference is it has a star with a lot of personality. The end of each level presents you with an image of him, stubby arms raised in triumph, exulting in joy. I was proud of the mess my little guy made.

Demolition Dash [iTunes]