Game: Smash Hit v1.4.0
Category: Action / Arcade
You get the two-for-one review special on this one, because Smash Hit is on a couple of different platforms and is a different experience on one in particular. This is an endless runner type on-rails arcade game that uses a very simple concept to amazing effect. The concept being the theraputic effect of getting to shatter glass in a game with silver marble balls.
First up, the Android edition of the game. Visually, despite using mostly simple shapes, Smash Hit is actually one of the prettiest games I've seen on an Android device. Everything in the game has a sharp and clean HD look, with great transparency work for all the glass you'll be destroying, a nice varied color palette, great animation, and great architecture within the simple shape design. The visceral impact of the glass shattering is very satisfying throughout, which is critical for this type of experience.
Audio-wise, Smash Hit comes up aces as well, with a great techno/trance soundtrack helping to drive the gameplay experience. During a playthrough, the soundtrack is mostly understated, but the Smash Hit team picked their spots to change up the rhythm, style, and tempo very well to enhance the gameplay. The sound effects themselves are fairly limited, but the game nails the sounds of glass shattering, which aids the satisfaction factor of doing it over and over.
The gameplay in Smash Hit is simple but very absorbing. As the player, you are given a first person point of view and driven through the game world like most on-rails shooters. You have a certain number of silver balls at your disposal, the number of which you can see at the top of the screen. Whenever a panel of glass (and there is a lot of variation as to what that glass will look like) pops in the middle of screen where it appear it will "hit" you, you tap the screen to send your silver balls flying out to shatter the glass (the balls do arc in a way you have to adjust to). If you take a hit from something, you lose ten of your balls and if you run out of balls it's game over. As you go through the levels, there are cones that allow you to increase your number of silver balls and if you hit enough of them in a row, you get an upgrade that fires two balls for every tap, keep the combo going from there and it can go up to five balls for every tap. There are also powerups of varying types such as ones that give you temporary infinite ammo, explosive balls, or ones that slow down time. Smash Hit cleverly changes the speed of your travel, the orientation, and the obstacles as you go to keep things fresh. You can download the game for free and can potentially play through the entire single-player mode, but you only have one life and can only start from the beginning every time. The game offers checkpoints, cloud saves, and local multiplayer modes if you upgrade it in-app to premium for $1.99. As far as downsides go, there aren't many with this game, though I will say even with the Note 5 when I adjusted the graphics settings to high the Note 5 was noticeably hot after playing the game for a stretch. It is a one concept game, so it can potentially wear on some players over time. A very impressive game on Android though, well worth the download to try, and in my view well worth the upgrade in-app to premium.
While Smash Hit is excellent on Android devices, it is transcendently great on the Gear VR version of the game. Like the Android version, the Gear VR version can be downloaded for free in the Oculus OS, but unlike the Android version it has no premium version as of the moment. Instead it removes the multiplayer modes(for now) but allows checkpoints immediately for the player. To play this version of the game, you use your head to aim your shots and tap the side panel of the Gear VR to shoot. Everything I said earlier about the Android version of the game applies here, except for the Gear VR adds a level of fun factor and immersion to the game that is stunning. Smash Hit for Gear VR is a feast for the senses, as you are literally seeing the glass shattering up close and personal, you can look all around the levels to better appreciate the architecture as you fly by them, and the game has a sense of "presence" in VR that is amazing. If you have a Gear VR or get a chance to try one out, this is arguably the best game to start with for the full VR effect.
- Great music.
- Great graphics.
- Simple but excellent gameplay.
- Limited but satisfying sound effects.
- Excellent to play on Android devices.
- Insanely fun to play the Gear VR version.
- Taxes devices at higher settings.
- One note gameplay might wear down some players.
Reviewer rating: (Android)
Reviewer rating: (Gear VR)
Device/OS used: Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Gear VR / Lollipop 5.1.1
Purchase at Google Play
Purchase at Amazon
Mobilism: Smash Hit v1.4.0