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Smash 'N' Survive Review

Pit! Pit! Pit!

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.
Smash ‘N’ Survive tells the story of you, a petty street racer who gets lucky ansmd joins a gang known as the Necromancers. Throughout the dismal 2-3 hour campaign, you’ll be vying for turf with clan rivals, The Hooligans, and that’s just about it. No characters, no cutscenes, and not even a shred of spoken dialogue. Chapters are fumbled together with unimaginative snippets of writing, V2’s primary focus being gameplay.

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.
Responsive handling and engaging combat are the two quintessential must-haves in any successful car combat title. Focusing too much on one half of this well-established formula rarely pays off, but failing to make the grade on either is a recipe for disaster.

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.

Score: 2/10

Read more:
  1. yogdog
    Since: Feb 2010

    I saw the score and just laughed. Holy shit.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:02.
  2. Deathbrin
    Since: Aug 2009

    Woo, a 2 review! Thanks for suffering for us. :)

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:06.
  3. Bodachi
    Since: Jan 2010

    Worst game of the year?

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:08.
  4. Taylor Made
    Since: Oct 2011

    this is the first 2/10 review I ever seen in my life ever since I started playing games. I never thought its possible to get a 2

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:18.
    • Sympozium
      Since: Aug 2009

      Its happened before… 1/10.. even 0/10

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:23.
      • BIGAL-1992
        Since: Jan 2009

        Really? When was that?

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:46.
      • Taylor Made
        Since: Oct 2011

        seriously 0/10, what game is this lol

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:50.
      • Sympozium
        Since: Aug 2009

        OPM… 0/10 I believe it was that Mag but defo not TSA if that confuses Al

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 10:05.
      • PoolieMike
        Since: Oct 2008

        Look up “Big Rigs.”

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 10:15.
      • BIGAL-1992
        Since: Jan 2009

        Ah right. I thought you meant there was a review on TSA that gave 0/10. I’m all to aware of Big Rigs, what a terrible game that was.

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 10:24.
  5. Sympozium
    Since: Aug 2009

    Trailer made it look terrible and no surprise it was.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:24.
    • tonyyeb
      Since: Aug 2010

      Yup even the trailed looked pants!

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:44.
  6. Crocadillian
    Since: Feb 2011

    Does anyone find it interesting how certain types of font are usually the mark of a terrible game? :D

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:41.
    • Youles
      Since: Feb 2011

      Agreed – or even a terrible title for the game.

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:48.
  7. Sympozium
    Since: Aug 2009

    Wait… so is this any better than Full Auto 2? I thought that was greatish but very short but I bet that would’ve got loads of Negetive scores.

    Just a shame this game is poor.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 10:08.
  8. Smallville2106
    Since: Feb 2011

    ooouch. Worst review score I’ve seen in so long.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 10:17.
  9. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    Why do Sony waste time with this nonsense while we’re waiting for Trine 2! :?

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 10:56.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

      It’s an indie company so I’m guessing Sony didn’t have much input. As long as it doesn’t spread viruses. :P

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 11:27.
      • TSBonyman
        Since: Dec 2009

        I know it’s not a Sony product – but it had to go through some Sony approval process i’m presuming …. and that took up some time when they could be approving Trine 2… anyway I WANT TRINE 2 NOW! lol :P

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 12:39.
      • bunimomike
        Since: Jul 2009

        Ah… Mr Bonyman wants his favourite dessert and doesn’t like the shite Sony’s currently offering! You go for it, fella. Shout loud. Kidnap families! I’ll get the engine running. Ooo… I wonder if they’ll release it sooner on PS+.

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 12:56.
  10. PoisonedMonkey
    Since: Jun 2009

    Yeah. I reviewed this for my own site and gave it a 3, another reputable site gave it a 2 and now you guys have given it 2 as well. So how, might I ask, is this bunch of arse scoring 7s and 8s on other sites??

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 11:18.
    • uncharted86
      Since: Jan 2012

      They have been paid :)

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 14:01.

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