Indie Review: Pineapple Smash Crew
Developed by designer Rich Edwards with music created by legendary chiptune artist Syphus, Pineapple Smash Crew is an adrenaline fuelled tactical blast-em-up with absurdity written all over it.
- Worth The Time?Yes, especially when you need a break from serious games.
- Things LovedThe colorful pixellated graphics, retro feel, explosive combat and assortment of weaponry.
- Things HatedThe repetitive loop of the chiptunes in the background, repetitive enemies, repetitive level design and the lack of challenge in the game.
- RecommendationIf you enjoyed games like Alien Breed and Worms; then this is recommended.
- Name: Pineapple Smash Crew
- Genre: Action, Indie
- Players: Singleplayer
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: Steam
- Developer: RichMakeGame
- Publisher: RichMakeGame
- Price: $ 9.99 (R 77)
- Reviewed On: PC
When playing Pineapple Smash Team the word ‘explosive’ comes to mind. In the most interesting of ways the game subjects you to rapid fire shooting, the constant death of enemies and the most absurd weaponry you can imagine. Although, the game is not as absurd as Worms for instance; it is still weird in its own right. With a name like Pineapple Smash Team you wouldn’t expect less. In the game, you play as a squad of four muscle bounded space mercenaries with tiny Lego-styled heads, essentially the Goombas from the Super Mario Bros. movie with Master Chief’s armour. This is quite the deadly pairing.
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Anyway, the game is a top-down tactical shooter, or as the lone developer, Rich Edwards, prefers “a fast paced tactical blast-em-up”. So be prepared for very fast gameplay as enemies descend upon you. Basically, you have to commandeer spaceships which are under attack by a variety of creatures like space zombies, aliens and robots. It is your job to rid the ship room by room of the pesky creatures and restore the spaceships to their former glory. You do this by taking out rooms marked in red on the mini-map, as well as completing objectives set out in said rooms. This involves dodging lasers, shots from enemies, moving nuclear batteries into waste disintegrators and defeating bosses on the larger ships.
Combat involves fast paced top-down shooting in the retro tradition. You can fire nearly endless amount of shots at enemies, until your power bar is depleted and you have to let the bar regenerate. In the game, you move from room to room and can destroy a vast array of crates, rockets and other items from which you obtain blue gems which gain you experience. After collecting enough blue gems you effectively level your squad and can choose an upgrade for various grenade-launched weapons you pick up. There are thirteen different grenade types which include: rockets, laserbeam, whirlwind, mine, holo-decoy, tele-frag, health and shield grenades to name a few. On top of this, there are four types of special power-ups: Invincibility, Slow-time, Four-Times Damage and Strike Fear.
The problem with the combat is that it never changes that much and defeating the same enemies over and over again breeds boredom fairly quickly, after a few hours. After levelling up your squad, enemies still seem far too easy. Bosses share the same fate and are too easy according to the difficulty set for the larger spaceships you explore. But by the same standing the game has so many different weapons that it eggs you on in order to use all of them. But after that, it does tire quite a bit. Level design within the game is also repetitive. This doesn’t help matters when every single spaceship has similar looking rooms, and makes different spaceships seem less special in the process.
The game earns some brownie points in the visuals department with a strong bright colour palette in the level design, gameplay and pixellated characters. This helps to liven up the game and draws your attention with colourful explosions. The retro feel gives the game a great nostalgic sensibility visually.
In terms of sound design, the game’s soundtrack is provided by chiptunes maestro Syphus (a.k.a Echolevel) who brings a catchy NES-type soundtrack to the mix that is lively with punchy drums and awesome instrumentation. Yet the music like the level design of the game is at times repetitive, with many of the songs looping over and over again. This might be appropriate for an indie game, but it tires after awhile.
Pineapple Smash Team is incredibly fun and yet is only addictive for a short while. Until you realise that the game suffers from some level design issues and samey enemies. However, the combat is fun and the game has a charm of its own. This is a definite buy if you’re looking for a retro throwback. If not, I suggest you look elsewhere.