Once in a while, a game gets everything right: the graphics, the gameplay, the background score and, perhaps most important for a mobile game, “replayability”. Smash Hit, from the makers of the popular Sprinkle, is one such. And the fact that it’s free only means that you can grab it right away without a second thought.
What’s It All About?
Smash Hit is a first person shooter, except there are no guns or baddies in this game. It’s as refined as Dead Trigger 2 and perhaps even more addictive.
In this game, you keep automatically moving forward through a world of geometric figures. Your weapon is a steel ball, which you fling at objects by tapping anywhere on the screen. Much like Angry Birds and other addictive slingshot games, the laws of physics are involved so depending on the distance, your ball will form an arc while flying through the air.
As you move forward, glass structures will pop up. Your only job is to smash these with your metal balls so that the glass doesn’t hit you. If a structure isn’t going to hit you anyway, you can choose not to hit it. Once you run out of balls, it’s game over.
Each section of the world has a distinctive colour palette, and the speed of your movement is never so fast or slow to make you queasy. The structures look great (complete with reflections) and it’s all backed up by a background score that slowly builds up intensity as you progress. My favourite part, though, is the sound effects of glass shattering—it’s just so satisfying!
More Balls & Power-Ups
Not hitting glass can often be the wiser strategy since Smash Hit only gives you a limited number of balls. You can earn more balls by hitting crystals in the game. These crystal structures come in different shapes: Shattering a crystal pyramid gives you three balls, while a crystal diamond gives you five; and if you ever get to a crystal snowflake, make sure you hit that!
You are also encouraged to form chains by hitting these crystal structures in succession, without missing any. At every 10 crystals, your slingshot gets powered up to fling two balls (although only one is depleted out of your total armoury). This is perhaps the most critical aspect of the game. These chains and the resulting multi-ball flings are what you’ll need to be able to go past some of the later levels as the structures get bigger. After all, slinging five balls at a large glass hexagon is going shatter it much faster than slinging balls singularly. It’s truckloads of fun. Threes was the most addictive game of 2014 so far but Smash Hit just stole the title!
Apart from this, there are other limited-time power-ups in the game to collect, like slowing down time, unlimited balls, impact balls, and more. Activating these power-ups was the only negative point of the game. The power-ups appear at the bottom of the screen, so if you need to hit something there, you will accidentally activate the power-up instead of slinging your ball at the target—it’s annoying, but I can’t think of a better solution for it either.
A Special Menu & In-App Purchase
Smash Hit has a total of 10 levels, with a checkpoint at the start of each. While the game is played from a first-person perspective, the menu is shown as a side-scroller. It’s a small design element, but it made a huge difference in making me fall in love with the game. It just looks so beautiful and tracks your progress in a way unlike any game I’ve seen.
In the free version of Smash Hit, you will have to start back at the beginning each time you want to play. If you pay $1.99 and unlock the game, you can start at any of the checkpoints. Each checkpoint saves the number of balls you had in reserve when you first got to it. So just making it to a checkpoint often won’t be enough to keep moving: You will find yourself replaying certain levels just to get to the end with more balls than you had before, so the next level wouldn’t feel as impossible.
I found the $1.99 to be well worth it given how addictive Smash Hit is, but I appreciate that you can still play the game for free without having to spend that money. And make no mistake, it’s fun enough, addictive enough and replayable enough that you won’t mind restarting the game each time.