Indie Review: Smash ‘n Survive
Think indie Burnout, or perhaps even an indie Twisted Metal, and you have Smash 'n Survive. Can a smaller Indian development team really compete with the big boys in this sort of genre?
- Worth The Time?Unfortunately not
- Things LovedGraphics are decent for downloadable game under 2gb's... and well... uhm...
- Things HatedTedious gameplay, not very enjoyable, predictable and uninspired A.I, customisation is very limited, sound track can get very droning
- RecommendationThere are too many good indie games for me to recommend this. Although it seems to try, the feeling just wasn't mutual; I just couldn't get into this game. It's just too generic to be worth your time.
- Name: Smash 'n Survive
- Genre: Racing
- Players: 1-6
- Multiplayer: Versus
- Platforms: PS3
- Developer: Version 2 Games
- Publisher: Version 2 Games
- Price: About R120 (when I lasked looked)
- Reviewed On: PS3
When Dean emailed Adam and I (the resident indie gamers that we are) and asked someone to review Smash ‘n Survive, I was, well I was looking forward to it. I had heard about it and read a review somewhere that was quite positive about this indie Twisted Metal/Burnout clone. It must’ve been late and I must’ve been suffering from cancer of the brain when I read it because well, well it’s not that great. Let me get this out of the way right now, Smash ‘n Survive is not a bad or horrible game, just a very boring one. In some sense boring, or lacking character as I like to call it, is worse than being bad; bad games are at least good for making fun of. So what’s so average about Smash ‘n Survive?
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The game is very 1990’s to start, you know, heavy metal, car, fire, brimstone and all that you’d expect from Twisted Metal on the PS1. The problem, well Twisted Metal 1, a game from 1995, did it better. So what went wrong? Well Smash ‘n Survive presents the player with 3 game modes: campaign, versus and game mode. Game mode does exactly what you’d expect and provides modes from racing to checkpoints to a destruction derby styled mode creatively named ‘Mosh Pit’. Versus provides multiplayer versions of those aforementioned modes and is one step up because not only does it let you verse other human opponents but removes the horribly bland A.I from the game. The A.I. is predictable and unimaginative, resorting to the same collision and run tactics again and again. The final mode, campaign mode, is the exact same as game mode except that it alternates the mode you’re going to play and you unlock cars each time you successfully complete a round.
There are apparently 40 cars to unlock, not that I’ve seen them all because I couldn’t manage the will power to complete campaign mode. More than that, they’re supposed to offer varying styles of driving and all feel unique. From my perspective however, I didn’t notice anything beyond looking different and slightly better or worse turning and breaks. It just feels so disconnected and there’s almost no sense of speed or control, it’s numb and as I’m sure any racing fan knows; that’s the worst possible fate for a racing game. Even the weapons fitted to the vehicles, something supposed to make the game more exciting, all felt weak and nothing really stood out. The problem is quite simple, when you compare this to games as far back as the PS1, games fraught with issues and glitches; it still underperforms and makes almost no attempt to differentiate itself in any way. And don’t forget it actually has to compete with a brand spanking new and soon to be released Twisted Metal. I suppose an online versus mode might have saved Smash ‘n Survive from such a judgement but well, it doesn’t have one; this in a game with 6 players versus. I mean if I invited 5 friends over for a console session, something we usually reserve for Halo and Guitar Hero nights, and presented them with this, unless heavily drunk, they wouldn’t be my friends anymore.
Graphically, Smash ‘n Survive is above average and its musical score certainly fits the game, though a bit droning and headache inducing. That said, the tracks and arenas you race in are as bland and grey as you’re going to get; though I suppose it does make the slightly better cars stand out. It’s really hard to recommend a game that makes almost no effort to appeal to the senses or any faculty of enjoyment. You could assume I’m an idiot and buy it anyway, but with free flash indie games better than this; honestly, why would you bother?