Squish Squash by Dreamhive LLC is an amusing and well presented variation on the whack-a-mole game, except with more variation of enemies and ways of whacking.
The game presents you with a wild grassland area populated with plants, grasses and rocks, as well as a large bug mound. In the middle of this area is a crumb and it is your duty to defend this sweet morsel from being consumed by hordes of hungry bugs. The bugs emerge from the mound and make there way to the crumb, should you squash all the required bugs in an area then you can move on to the next level. However, at the top of the screen is a crumb meter showing how much crumb is left. Should the bugs eat all of the crumb before you can squash them, then it’s game over!
There are five types of bugs you must dispatch. The first are the ‘Peons’ which are small and round, and can be squashed pretty easily. Next are ‘Hoppers’ which can only be squashed when they are on the ground, they can be tricky little blighters. ‘Wimps’ as their name suggests, are the smallest. But they are pretty fast, so you have to have quick reflexes to get them. ‘Hunters’ have pincers which will deduct your score if they nip you, so aim for their bodies. And finally you have the ‘Brutes’, which are huge, dung beetle looking fellows. They require a little more force than the others, so you’ll need to tap and hold you finger on them, then smear them around the screen to squash them. The result is a gooey mess, which can aid you in slowing down the faster bugs.
On the top left of the screen is a’ last bug squashed’ icon, match the next bug and you’ll get a combo. Match the colour and you’ll get a bonus combo. Each time you get a combo the orange power bar is filled, when it’s full you are rewarded with a powerup such as bug spray, a fly swat and my personal favourite the magnifying glass. These powerful weapons will quickly clear the area of bugs, and are best used as a last ditch effort to win the level.
There are two game types Marathon and Single level. In Marathon you must beat 100 levels in order. Once a level is complete it is available to replay in the Single level mode. The gameplay is very simple and can become repetitive and an ultimately shallow experience, but two things in this game held my attention. The first is the good use of the iPhones multi touch controls, with tapping for squash, drag to move the camera and pinch to zoom, as well as three finger tap for pausing. They work a treat and are very responsive, as the should be. The second is the graphics. There is a lot of detail here for such a simple game. The bug models look great and animate well, the gooey effects once the bugs are squash is very pleasing in a disturbing way, and the environments look great, even zoomed in. It reminded me of Pikmin from nintendo on the Gamecube, and really impressed me… especially for a $1.99 game.
Presentation and graphics
Pikmin-esque graphics, very polished with great models and textures.
Great use of environmental sound effects, pleasing squash sounds and funky music results in a very good audio experience
At its core it’s a fancy version of Whack-a-mole. The tapping gets tiresome after a while… so the game is best in short bursts. Beware of bruised index fingers!
There are 100 levels in the game, including 20 bonus rounds. Plenty to keep you going, and good as a pick up and play travel game.
I would highly recommend picking this game up for $1.99, especially for kids and casual gamers. There’s not much on offer for the hardcore, but in short play bursts there is a fun challenge to be had. It’s the graphics and presentation though, that kept me coming back.