Monday, 21 April 2014

Smash Hit

Yes it's free, no I didn't pay.

In a change of events, I thought I would take a look at Smash Hit. Oddly for me, it's a new game and was released recently upon the iPhone. As a medium I've yet from which to properly take a review. Released in the last few months, Smash Hit is one of those games that's proudly wearing the "experimental" tag on its game, which is to that it's a game with a gimmick that has been invented and then fashioned a game around that gimmick hoping to make a game, rather than make the game and building the engine into that game. In so far as to say, there's one thing you do here and that's it.

The further you go, the more devious yet intriguing the designs become
In what seems at first to be one of those tunnel flying games, where one would expect to navigate around obstacles and traps by turning or tilting the controller; you instead take the guise of travelling on a straight path through the Z axis while watching a rather surreal landscape pass you by. On your way you'll encounter various objects that for some reason have irked you enough that you can hurl large steel ball-bearings at them to break them and reward yourself with more balls. If you've ever been the kid that went they threw a rock through a green-house, wanted to throw more instead of running away, this game is for you. 

Hitting the edges and such won't help, the one point you need to worry about is in the dead centre

Each time you hit one of the crystals, you'll be rewarded with more balls, while the game will also throw at you various translucent obstacles made of glass that you'll have to hurl balls at in order to smash, obliterate and remove from your pathway otherwise you take a hit from the glass and spew out ten balls right there and then. Run out of balls and you run out of game and have to start over. If you manage to hit ten consecutive crystals without missing any of them, you get to fire more and more balls per shot at the cost of a sole ball to your collection, up to a maximum of five balls at a time in a large 'X' formation.

The whole game reeks of that pseudo-futuristic cleanliness, which does add to the atmosphere, admittedly

Like a lot of games on the iPhone, it's quick to pick up, quick to play and quick to learn. Which is essential given the fast and rapid flow of gaming these days on mobile devices where the gamers will want to be in the game, playing and out again before the next bus stop, or by the time they're called in for their usual VD clinic check-up. This game is of no exception to that situation and fulfils the requirement dutifully.

It's a shame I can't show this as a fluid animation, it's impressive to see

Graphically speaking, it's impressive to see in action. The movement remains fluid through out and glass in the game has that slightly refractive surface while being at the same time, translucent to seem like the panes of glass in bathrooms. The physics engine happily gives room for breaking parts of the glass and watching large chunks of it fall away as one might expect but don't get your hopes up for having breathtaking shatter effects. Chunks will disappears around where your ball hits and as long as you can get your view point through the obstacle, you won't really have to worry about much else.

Yes, I lost a combo just to take this shot, but the translucency was impressive
The difficulty ramps up suitable with the first few areas just an exercise in aiming the balls and gathering more by destroying crystals, before stationary glass obstacles begin to appear. Later levels have sliding glass, glass that flips up into position, glass swinging from ropes, glass hanging from ropes in suspension and will break and move depending upon where the tension gives up first, glass that rotates and spins and an assorted host of different shapes and structures to smash your way through.

Each zone has a doorway that has one or more buttons that require to be hit, good luck
Some parts of the game allow for a rapidfire item to be collected while gives you ten seconds to effectively "machinegun" your way through the game, spewing out ball after ball towards whereever you have your finger pressed down upon the screen. This doesn't make you invincible however and you can still crash into things, lose more balls, or miss crystals and lose your multiplier effect and becomes a little jarring the first time it happens and realise that the power-up isn't that much of a power-up.

It does get hard at times to judge what's going to actually hit you are be a near miss
The music jaunts along merrily enough in the background as an ambience to the game and doesn't really add much to the experience but then again it doesn't really subtract from it either. The glass breaking sound effects have just the right pitch and frequency to be satisfyingly close to what you're seeing and don't seem to be muted down or overblown in that regard.

Spinning glass, another problem is working out WHICH glass will hit you and making sure not to waste shots
Overall it's a fun little arcade style romp that's found a gimmick within an engine and put it to fairly good use. You'll likely play this a few times to see the effects and feel somewhat impressed by what your device is capable of doing and a fair few people will play it to see it through to the end or to score higher and higher against their friendslist. But without something new to challenge people, there's little replay factor beyond a week or so at most for the majority of players. Give it a go, you might be surprised.