It seems like every other week that we see a new racer/derby title hit digital platforms. Sure, most of them fly under the radar unnoticed, but it’s hard to deny that the sub genre has seen a gradual hike in quality over the past few years, Psyonix’s SARPBC (you’ll need to search that one) perhaps being one of the most under-appreciated games to ever grace the PlayStation Network. In contrast however, we have Smash ‘N’ Survive, a new car combat experience from Zen Technologies subsidiary, Version 2 Games.
- PSN exclusive - £9.99/€12.99
- Weighs in at around 1.8GB
- Local multiplayer only.
Every time the player lands a successful weapon attack, the game will switch into a slow-mo. Not only are these cuts intrusive, they don't give much of visual feedback in terms of the damage being dealt.
Smash’ N’ Survive has a moderate gallery of vehicles, some with their own unique weapons including flippers, flamers, and mower blades. It’s all very Robot Wars-y, and despite there being over a decade between them, the BBC’s video game adaptation of the much-loved nerd sport is comparably better.
In the minute smattering of race-style events in Smash ‘N’ Survive the handling is plausible, but when you’re in a combat environment it’s downright awful, handling just as smoothly as one of Zen’s driving simulators. This isn’t really helped by the poor weapon mechanics either. No matter which vehicle you select, one-on-one skirmishes will always end up with both combatants chasing eachother in circles. Some weapons offer a ranged advantage, but without the game clearly displaying how much damage your death contraptions actually dish out, you’ll likely stick to ramming your opponents’ weak spots.
As briefly touched on before, Smash ‘N’ Survive isn’t all free for all scraps and team deathmatches, there are also a number of objective-based modes too. A saboteur-like game type sees one team attempt to plant a bomb in the enemy base and prevent it from being disarmed.
Another is a straight up king of the hill variant, and there are even escort missions, but all suffer from the same structural and gameplay issues. Victory in these modes can be achieved by eradicating the enemy team and unless you want to struggle against Smash N’ Survives woeful mechanics, this is the approach you’re likely to take for every mission.
Menus are as basic as you could imagine, the continuous heavy metal rift in the background failing to make navigation any more enjoyable. The in-game environments are varied and some of the vehicles have a slick look to them, but it’s hard to ignore that the game’s contemporaries are well-ahead, the upcoming Wheels of Destruction employing the Unreal Engine 3 to full effect.
- Some environments look great.
- Steep pricing. You could bag yourself two copies of MotorStorm RC for the same amount.
- Game mode objectives can be ignored.
- 2-3 hours in length, unless you actually want to play more.
- Looks dated, physics are too basic.
- Weapon system is useless.
Unfortunately, there are barely any redeeming qualities in Smash ‘N’ Survive. Despite a few visual perks, the gameplay, and thereby foundation, of Smash ‘N’ Survive is dysfunctional with huge implications on the rest of the experience. If you’re looking for your car combat fix there are plenty of alternatives, chief amongst them the upcoming return of Twisted Metal.