9th March 2012 - When I sat down to review Version2Games’ PSN downloadable Car Combat game Smash ‘N’ Survive, I simply was not prepared to partake in the worst game I have played in a long while. Smash ‘N’ Survive could easily fit into the car combat category alongside Twisted Metal, BLUR, Split/Second and even Mario Kart... But I am afraid those games are comparable only by genre. ‘SNS’ fails to deliver a unique experience and should only be played by someone who wants to punish their eyes, ears and thumbs.
‘SNS’ is frustrating from start to finish. It contains some of the most inconsistent and confusing menus and UI that I’ve had to deal with. There are a handful of simple game modes that range from Time Trials and a few variations of the Destruction Derby arena style modes, some of which allow for weaponry like chainsaws and projectiles. There are 40+ vehicles that range from NASCAR to Monster Trucks with some options to customise them to include some new weapons and destructive toys. Problems arise at times when your car model is too wide to see your newly affixed weaponry and if they are having any affect on your opponents.
My first death was swift and without mercy of the AI vehicle opponents who don’t seem to suffer from the same handling issues I experienced. Despite each vehicles somewhat unique design, each one handled like a Sherman Tank. That is, until you get some speed going, then the car seems to slowly roll over like it’s filled with helium. It also became very clear with the obvious lack of a tutorial or announcer / commentator that the only instruction I was entitled to was the name of the game ... SMASH ‘N’ SURVIVE.
To say that the visuals in ‘SNS’ are subpar is a kind understatement. The textures are poor and overused, the car models are bland and blocky and there are tearing and popping issues peppered throughout every level of the game. Most notably though was how my eye was immediately drawn to the reflection in the rear windshield of the car. There seemed to be 5 or 6 still images that would shift and change as you moved; they did not seem to reflect or represent your actual surroundings, my speed or my cars current health.
I wanted to compare this game to the graphical power of the PS2, but I think back to this point in that consoles life cycle and they had superb titles like Gran Turismo 4 and Twisted Metal Black. The PSOne perhaps? Oh wait ... the first Gran Turismo and Twisted Metal Small Brawl trump this game in design and execution too. Even our smart phones are capable of delivering wonderful graphical experiences such as Real Racing and even Grand Theft Auto III, which all cost far less than $20. How can we possibly spend our limited cash on a game that would have looked terrible generations ago?
‘SNS’ contains no audio commentary or voice over of any kind, which I find unusual for this particular type of objective based racer. The “3, 2, 1, Go!” countdown that kicks off every match has no audio assigned to it. All you get is the frustrating heavy-metal riff accompanying the menus and its slightly varied in-game counterpart. Top that off with some very simple engine and collision effects during gameplay.
When considering the price of nearly $20 it’s a huge ask for anyone to buy this title. It does have split screen multiplayer and supports a few trophies - no platinum to be found. But if you have $20 to spend on the PSN, try something far more enthralling like Wipeout HD, Motorstorm RC or something completely different but totally worth experiencing like LIMBO.
Between its frustrating menus to its pitiful sound and visual design choices Smash ‘N’ Survive is without a doubt the worst game I have played this year... or even this generation. Save your money and consider buying something else.
AAG Score: 2/10
+ It’s a game
- Menus are infuriating
- Poor value for money
- Broken core mechanics
Reviewed and Written By Chris Crowe