Dare Up Adrenaline is a game that doesn't have much going for it. The idea of a Pilotwings-style experience with high-flying stunts and tricks is certainly an appealing concept, but this title fails to deliver on every front.
The main gameplay hook of Dare Up is controlling a wingsuit-wearing daredevil through the skies. The idea is a good one, but the laughably sloppy controls make the experience impossible to enjoy. The single player mode allows for control with either the Gamepad using the left stick, or the Wii Remote held sideways using tilt controls. Either configuration is sure to leave players frustrated thanks to the sluggishness with which the skydiver moves [Editor's note: this line also previously mentioned an inability to regain altitude in this mode, which was incorrect].
There is a proximity meter mechanic present which rewards players for flying close to obstacles, but coming so close to death never really works out since manoeuvrability is so poor. There's also a "slow-mo" mechanic that can be used by building the proximity meter, but isn't of much use most of the time. Pressing any direction on the right stick (or the D-pad for Wii Remote users) prompts the skydiver to do a stunt, but these are simply for show and add only a few points to players' totals.
The final major gameplay element of Dare Up is the parachute system, which is used to land safely at a level's end. However, once players pull their chutes the trick of levelling out to land correctly is so easy that it's simply an exercise in staring at the screen until the level is over.
The single player mode features ten levels with their own objectives such as "fly through all the rings and land safely," but again each level is a fight against the controls. Local multiplayer allows two players to dive simultaneously, one using the GamePad with his or her own view and the other using the Wii Remote on the TV. This is mostly a score battle to see who can mindlessly tap the stunt button more before crashing headlong into the ground. Admittedly, this mode is good for some laughs because of the wipeouts and crashes, but that's about the extent of the entertainment value.
The final mode, Adrenaline Mode, holds the most promise, but again is dragged down by controls that make the experience nearly unplayable. This mode features asymmetrical local multiplayer in which the GamePad user controls a vehicle such as a truck with a huge donut on top of it, and the Wii Remote user attempts to pass through the hole in the donut. There are two other Adrenaline missions that feature a helicopter and a boat, both of which have similar "pass through the hole" or "land safely" objectives. Each of them is equally disastrous to control, for both the skydiver and the player piloting the vehicle.
A final Adrenaline Mode mission is actually somewhat neat, as it gives players control of a hang glider and allows for exploration of an area using wind gusts to gain height. The hang glider is certainly more manoeuvrable than the wingsuit, but exploration is dull due to terribly slow flight speeds, even when nosediving from maximum height. What makes Dare Up even worse as a total package is the fact that later levels are only available via unlock after clearing earlier levels - some of which are legitimately near-impossible to clear.
The credits list a total of four songs present in Dare Up, but before we checked we were certain that there was only one. The soundtrack is certainly grungy enough for an adrenaline-themed game, but it features so little variety that the tracks eventually become tormenting. The visuals are bland and muddy, with somewhat sloppy modelling plaguing the whole ordeal. Pop-in is rampant, and the game struggles to achieve 30fps most of the time. The chugging, unspectacular visuals and music are an almost fitting accompaniment to the sloppy controls and gameplay structure.
Dare Up Adrenaline is a less than half-baked attempt at arcade-style free-flying action, and it crashes and burns spectacularly. It feels as though very little effort was put into making this game enjoyable, let alone playable; it would be impossible for us to recommend paying more than a dollar for this game, let alone the asking price. Buyers are better off looking elsewhere for their adrenaline fixes.