Review: Smash N’ Survive
The vehicular combat genre is a tricky endeavor for developers, finding the right balance between combat and racing, controls, game content and replayability is no walk in the park. It’s not a genre that is flooded with everyday carbon copies like the FPS but it’s difficult to stand out when the exceptional Twisted Metal is practically the face of the genre. It’s totally niche, but newcomers to the genre will be delighted to know that Version2Games’ Smash N’ Survive has great barriers to entry due to its fairly simple “pick-up and play” feel to it and a surprisingly robust set of features.
Developed by Version2Games, based out in India, Smash N Survive sticks to a practiced formula but adds enough innovation to keep things fresh. Aside from just ramming head on with vehicles, the game allows you to creatively take down your foes using environmental weapons that are map-based. There are maps where you can push your opponents into crushers or you can send them hurling using physics-based tornadoes; which prove very effective. There’s a strong emphasis on melee combat as well; an integral part of combat.
As you continue to pummel your enemies and complete missions you earn bounty or points that you can then spend on unlocking new game modes or other vehicles via the shop. Vehicle augmentations such as a kick-ass set of blades or saws is encouraged but beware, different weapons affect different kinds of vehicles so be sure to experiment with the tools at hand and pick a capable car for the given scenario. Customization is intuitive and deep, allowing players to literally change every aspect of the cars from rims to spoilers with an easy yet sluggish interface that isn’t cluttered with a million things on screen. You have three parameters, Strength, Handling, and Acceleration; sacrifice strength for speed with the smaller cars and vice versa with the hefty ones.
There is no story mode but you’re instantly greeted with hard-pounding rock music at the menu screen, ensuring that carnage will soon ensue. The campaign portion is broken up into several missions such as surviving an onslaught for three minutes or finish checkpoints in time. There’s also Mosh Pit, Territory Control, and my personal favorite, Find Your Mate which has you frantically looking for your injured mate before the timer runs out. It’s fresh and extremely addictive to play. A versus mode is also available for two-player split screen local play and a six-player online mode which will be available later this April.
The driving in the game lacks a certain polish, the steering feels stiff and even when you’re going really fast with the boost, it still doesn’t feel like you’re moving that fast, even with the faster cars. This makes for awkward turns that usually have you unintentionally bumping into obstacles and walls and making you more vulnerable to incoming attacks. Even the menus navigate with slight lag with questionable loading times but it doesn’t really take away the overall fun of the game. The melee combat feels great and satisfying; who doesn’t love ramming into a vehicle with a set of blades?
The game’s soundtrack consists of hard rock and electronic music so it really engrosses the player in a world where no one is forgiven and everybody pays. It can really pump you up at times, although the music that plays in the main menu can get annoying since it loops over and over again; not to mention it’s not very favorable to listen to. The cars have powerful sounds, each with their own distinct style, and the ear-piercing screech of a sound when you hit the boost really amps up the adrenaline.
For a downloadable game, the graphics are serviceable and the destruction is remarkably well done. You can notice the damage your car is taking by pressing the triangle button and the level of detail is really impressive. The environments are pretty generic and uninspired to look at but a blast to play in them. Some range from expansive to very small where every turn you take, you’re bound to hit someone. Car models aren’t licensed so you won’t recognize a Lexus or a Hummer but who cares? These destructive cars are more bad-ass. The game runs smooth with very little slowdown during the most hectic moments when your car gets flipped in the air, or when you perform a finishing blow to an opponent as you watch them burst into flames.
With 10 maps, 30+ cars, 19 missions and a free multiplayer mode coming this April, it’s hard not to recommend this title when you’re getting a substantial amount of content. For only £9.99, the price is instantly justified despite a few quirks. This competent title has enough juice to keep it relevant in the vehicle combat renaissance of today and while it’s lacking the polish of Twisted Metal or Split Second, it’s a title that has that pure “pick up and play” feel that always makes it accessible whether you’re taking a shot at the Mosh Pit or inviting a friend to accompany you. This is Version2Games’ first game and it’s a good sign of things to come. Go Smash!
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Really? I came online to check how much one would rate this sad game. I was super excited about this game cuz it was developed from the city I lived in. but MY god, I can find atleast two things wrong about every paragraph of the review. HOW, I dont understand, HOW the gameplay was smooth and soundtrack engrossing? I am furious about my money I paid for this. The game is an insult if anything at all, on every level. I'll give you one for some of the arenas though. original. I am sure this comment of mine will never make it to being displayed. But I had to vent. Stupid game!
I actually came online to see how this game was rated. I was excited about the game cuz it was developed in India.