Smash ‘N’ Survive: review

  • Format: PSN
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Version2Games Limited
  • Developer: Version2Games Limited
  • Players: 1-2
  • Site: http://www.snsthegame.com/

Smash ‘N’ Survive is a vehicular combat game, and is the first game to emerge from Indian studio Version 2 Games. The title is a PlayStation 3 exclusive that is available to download from the PlayStation Network. Taking inspiration from the Burnout and Twisted Metal franchises, can this new game emulate these classic games or should it have been scrapped long ago?

The game casts you as an unnamed street racer who is attempting to join a gang called the Necromancers. Throughout the game you are tasked with taking on rival gang the Hooligans in a turf war. The plot is paper thin and there are no cutscenes to speak off, with simple paragraphs of text used to lay out your next mission. The game starts you out in a regular car with no weapons, but as you progress you unlock a variety of vehicles with some being stronger, faster or easier to handle than others. Later vehicles also come equipped with different weapons like buzz saws, flamethrowers or pulse emitters that flip enemy vehicles over. With missions like team deathmatch, base defence or bombing your rival’s base, some vechicles are better suited than others for the mission in hand.

Some of the cars do look cool, but the customisable extras make no difference. Can you spot the difference in these alloy wheels?

We have to say the graphics of Smash ‘N’ Survive are sub-par for a PS3 release, with low resolution textures that would embarrass a PS2 game. There were also several graphical glitches present, including half rendered smoke when your vehicle gets damaged and there were several incidents of screen tearing.  Vehicles get stuck on various in game objects and even flip over at the smallest collision. Indeed the four-year-old Burnout Paradise is a lot more technically advanced in comparison. There is also the infuriating slow-mo camera that kicks in every time you crash into a foe. It attempts to zoom into the action to show what damage you’re inflicting, which invariably is very little, with no visible sign of damage on the colliding cars. This animation goes on for ages as well, and the angle the camera is positioned means you can’t see where you are driving, meaning when you regain control of the vehicle you end up crashing yourself.

The Hooligans’ vehicles also seem to be made of Adamantium, and even a full blooded smash from behind with your buzz saw does very little damage to their health bar. Your own vehicle however seems to buckle at even the most insignificant collision, even if you use one of the strongest cars in your garage. It makes the game infuriating and unfair, and with no way of repairing your broken vehicle you end up having to replay levels several times. The handling is also pretty suspect, with some cars having the turning circle of a tanker, which makes avoiding or creating crashes incredibly frustrating. The roster of cars, which you unlock with in-game credits, is quite impressive, and some of them do look pretty cool, but there really isn’t much difference between them when you take them into the arena. They are also customisable but this is just cosmetic, and you can’t even change the colour or livery on your vehicle, with the only option being a paltry selection of bull bars, spoilers or wheels which you barely notice when they are installed.

Smash 'N' Survive will certainly not win any awards for cutting edge graphics.

All the missions have the same focus on staying alive and smashing the Hooligans’ fleet of cars up, even with the base defence/attack variations. This invariably means you go around in circles chasing after one another like the automobile equivalent to Benny Hill. Some levels try to spice things up with car crushers and buzz saws on the ground, but even their addition does nothing to relieve the frustration of the game mechanics. The game supports two player versus mode, which is for local play only with no online play supported which we feel is a big mistake, as online play would at least give the game some longevity, if you have the patience to put up with the handling and physics of the title that is.

The game menus are as basic as you can get, and scrolling through the multitude of available vehicles is slow and unresponsive, which unfortunately you need to do everytime you want to unlock a new vehicle. Then there is the awful heavy metal soundtrack, which is really only a guitar riff that is repeated and will get on your nerves after its first loop. You can’t even use your own soundtrack, which would at least mean your ears were getting some pleasure out of the experience.

Turn left...turn leffftt...TURN LEEEFFFFT!!

We were really disappointed with Smash ‘N’ Survive, and for the quite hefty £10 outlay on this game there are several titles that are a lot more worthy of your cash and attention on PSN. We can’t help but feel that if the developers had spent a bit more time polishing and fine tuning Smash ‘N’ Survive then it might have been worth the download, but as it stands it is a barely playable frustrating mess of a game that is more smash ‘n’ grab than Smash ‘N’ Survive!

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Written by Kevin M

I’ve been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70’s. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

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