The problem with any sort of endless game is that you have to provide a reason why people are going to keep playing. You need to offer something, well, unique.
It’d be unfair to say that Dollar Dash is a bad game. As games go, it’s pretty well functional. I might argue that it’s on the lower side of functional, but that’s not the point and it doesn’t really help or hurt the game on the balance. The problem it has isn’t about whether or not it works.
No, the problem is that it’s a game with the barest form of a game beyond the expectation of having multiple players beating the snot out of one another on a regular basis. Its single-player offering is perfunctory, there to train you and help you unlock things for the online experience, and that online experience is reliant on people deciding that they’d rather play this game as opposed to the countless entries doing the same thing, only better. It’s surplus to requirements, and it offers little to compel the player to care.
I’m almost finished with Saints Row: Gat out of Hell. I bought it right away, of course, because it will be an odd day indeed when something is released within that franchise that I don’t want, but I saved it for a while with full knowledge that I would be able to blow through it in a very short amount of actual play. True to form, here I am, with the game almost completely finished, even down to picking up the wobbly collectibles scattered throughout the game, a technique I generally eschew because it’s massively time-consuming in a larger city.
At the same time, I can appreciate the height of the end all the more because of where I started.
The start of the game, you see, drops you right back at the beginning of the usual Saints Row power curve, and leaves you at the end in roughly the same place as you were at the end of Saints Row 4 with an arsenal of slightly different superhuman powers and a flight system that’s both brilliant and fun. The difference is that instead of sinking 40 hours into the game to be most of the way to completion, I’m almost there in five. As there’s an extra layer of appreciation there.
I am not a fan of MOBAs. There are a variety of reasons – the toxic and vile player communities they tend to attract, the symptom of meatheaded posturing previously associated with physical sports steadily seeping into gaming, the usual control schemes that they support. But boy, if there was ever a genre that didn’t exist a decade ago that’s managed to explode in popularity since then, this would be the one, and I can certainly understand the heck out of people who do enjoy the games.
Of course, the downside to success is and always has been imitation. MOBAs have been hit by this pretty hard, to the point where it seems that almost every game company in existence has brought out a new MOBA, like the online equivalent of Japanese game companies making pachinko machines. Frankly, these games are a hard project even without all of the copycats, but the addition of those copies has only made the dynamic more difficult.