Gameplay - 8
Freeness - 7.5
Lifespan - 4
Presentation - 9
Therapeutic and almost clinical, Smash Hit is an original experience unlike anything else for mobiles, but don't expect the fun to last too long.
Smash Hit Therpeutic Fun, But Not For Long With more shattering glass than the average pub brawl, Smash Hit is one of the most popular iOS and Android games of the minute, quickly shooting up the mobile game charts. Wonderfully simple and oddly therapeutic, Smash Hit makes smashing glass into a surprisingly fun objective, but the fun doesn’t last as long as expected.
Smash Hit is an ‘on rails’ shooter, minus the guns and bullet wounds that usually accompany the genre. Instead, players progress through an increasingly frantic environment, clearing glass objects blocking the path with metallic balls.
It really is as simple as it sounds.
One of the interesting dynamics is that your ammunition is also your life points. Low accuracy quickly results in the end of the game, especially as hitting an obstacle takes away 10 ammunition/life points. It makes the gameplay surprisingly strategic: is it better to aim from further away, making aiming harder and needing more ammunition, or to wait until the obstacles are closer to increase the chances of hitting them, but making the threat of colliding much higher.
In a game of this ilk, the physics are crucial, and in this case they’re highly commendable. The balls travel exactly as you’d expect, and falling obstacles react like as they would in real life. The inclusion of an underwater environment mixes this up and adds a new dynamic to the game, while still maintaining an impressive level of physics.
The premium aspect of the game is much less invasive than many free-to-play titles.
Players progress through checkpoints as they play, though in the free version these are nothing more than indicators of distance. However, for a one-off fee of £1.49, players can purchase the ability to restart from the most advanced checkpoint they’re previously reached.
This sounds like a useful little tool, but actually, it has disastrous consequences for the lifespan of the game.
Playing the free version, this isn’t as noticeable. The inability to start from checkpoints means that players have to begin the game all over again whenever they die. This might sound irritating, but it actually serves as an addictive challenge, and extends the time spent playing the game.
After a few tries, it’s easy enough to progress through all ten environments and reach the “endless zone”.
This is where the problem starts. Knowing that there are no more checkpoints or goals makes the gameplay a little dull, and it’s difficult to feel a desire to carry on playing once you get to this point. It does take 30 minutes of solid gameplay to hit the endless zone, but the urge to play the game is almost completely eradicated once you achieve it.
The lifespan of the game is, without a doubt, the most disappointing aspect of Smash Hit.
Starting from the most reached checkpoint not only removes the challenge, but severely cuts the lifespan of the game, taking most of the fun with it.
The environments are incredibly therapeutic, and almost clinical, but this just serves to add to the game, especially in the later stages when the environments contrast hugely with the frantic gameplay of trying to destroy an incredible amount of obstacles.
The sound is equally impressive, at least at first. Featuring relaxing clinks and shatters, the sounds fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the game, but after playing for 30 minutes or so, it’s entirely irritating. It’s hard to imagine anyone lasting for the full duration of the game with the sound on.
It is excellent, but the monotony isn’t quite as pleasant for the sound as it is the gameplay!
All in all, Smash Hit is a title well worth checking out. At once relaxing and frustrating, it’s a challenging game, at least for the first few attempts. The real pitfall is the shortness of the game. Once the physics and dynamics of the game are understood, it’s easy to reach the end quite quickly, and then all the fun just vanishes.
Perfect to kill a bit of time, but Smash Hit isn’t a game to draw players back in after the first few plays.