Smash those aliens to the ground Buzz, yeah Smash It!
Any game with a movie- or franchise tie-inn gives me some cause for concern. In the past the quality has been a bit sketchy. Disney however has been quite good at making sure the licenses used get featured in the best possible way. Toy Story: Smash It! is definitely one of the greater uses of the Toy Story license I have seen. Having played Toy Story 3 for hours with my kids I have quite a lot of experience with the characters, and the level of graphical quality to expect. Smash It! looks like it could have been an extra mode that just migrated from console straight down onto the screen of my iPad Mini.
Speaking of great games I have to mention the game that Toy Story: Smash It! seems to be most inspired by: Boom Blox. Boom Blox is the only game that really stood out on the Nintendo Wii for me with a simple mechanic done to perfection. Both games share a throw balls to demolish structures mechanic. With the Wii motion controls you had a slight sensation that you threw for real that is missing on the touch screen. This is somewhat remedied by introducing more puzzle elements to the levels for Smash It!
Buzz has to knock down aliens from different structures to win the level. The fewer balls used the better. Aiming is done by simply touching, and dragging to get a reticule relative to the motions. This is great, as you don’t place your fingers in the way of aiming. Let go, to send the ball flying.
There are different kinds of projectiles beside the ball such as penetrating rockets, and inflatable balloons. These change their behaviour when you press a large yellow button, and this has to be timed for best effect. Getting a cool sequential knockdown is a pure joy, and you have to really learn how to best utilize the different projectiles against the different objects.
It is easy to assume that this is a game for kids, but the level of difficulty to unlock new worlds is quite high. Compared to most casual games I have played lately this actually forced me to go back, and replay quite a few levels to get enough stars to proceed. Perhaps a great game for kids to play with their parents?
The presentation is stellar: both in graphics, and sound. The levels are also varied forcing you to find new ways to optimize the effect of each throw. To me this is almost a perfect game, and the only thing I really miss is a local multiplayer mode that would make this a real party game for a long time. For now it is not to be missed by anyone no matter if you are a hardcore, or casual gamer.
Toy Story: Smash It! $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod