More like DoofenFAIL

3D endless runner-type games are a dime a dozen on the App Store, so it takes something extra and/or special—perhaps even “extra special,” if you will—to stand out from the rest. With the Phineas and Ferb license to use the exploits of Agent P (aka Perry the Platypus) versus Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz and all of the hijinks that entails, that might have been enough to do the job, at least for fans of the show (such as ourselves).

Unfortunately, Agent P DoofenDASH just comes up short overall by missing a few key fundamentals, and of course, exploiting the free-to-play model. The graphics are great, despite being 3D (translating characters from the 2D hand-drawn Phineas and Ferb cartoons into full 3D models always tends to be a hit-or-miss proposition, but this does it well), and the voices and tunes almost make it feel like you’re involved in another episode of the show. They even switch things up a bit by occasionally allowing you to switch over to a hang glider segment which operates much the same way as the running portions.

In our experience, the controls are simply a bit lacking. Swiping left and right moves Perry in the corresponding direction, while swiping up has him jump, and swiping down makes him roll. At least, that’s how it works in theory—too often, we found that we would swipe in a given direction, only to have Perry do something else, with the worst instance being swiping down to have him roll and instead seeing him jump right into the obstacle we were trying to avoid. As is often the case with these games, it only takes one small slip-up before you have to start all over, so there is no forgiveness here.

Incidentally, the tutorial is a little lacking as well. Granted, there’s not a whole lot to take in here, and fortunately, as noted, the glider portions operate much in the same way as the running. What the tutorial doesn’t cover, however, is cornering and whether or not turning is automatic. Turns out that it isn’t—back to the start, and rather quickly after just beginning the game, too. Not a great first impression.

Agent P DoofenDASH

These little transgressions tend to add up, and might even be forgivable if not for the dreaded free-to-play model that DoofenDASH so deviously exploits. Naturally, there are all sorts of things you can purchase with either in-game or real-world currency. Unfortunately, the fedoras required to continue seem to require the latter—if there is a way to earn them in-game, we’ve not encountered it yet. And at a rate of five for $1.99 (along with higher quantities/prices), the value just doesn’t quite feel like it’s there—particularly with how quickly the controls had us use the initial three it gives you.

As 3D runners go, Agent P DoofenDASH comes so close to feeling like it could be a lot of fun, particularly for those who love the adventures of Agent P and Dr. Doofenshmirtz, but it just comes up short overall. Hopefully Majesco will update this with some fine-tuning, but until then, it looks like the Tristate Area could be in some deep trouble.