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Smash Hit (Android) Review

Endless runners are quite plentiful on mobile app marketplaces, but few do anything to set themselves apart from the pack. Smash Hit is a visual stunner and mixes things up quite a lot regarding overall execution.

The core game concept is simple – get as far as you can while avoiding some obstacles and destroying others with a limited supply of marbles. You throw the balls with the touch screen and touch your target.

In theory, this works perfectly and in execution, it works nearly that well. You do need to learn about how long it takes for the ball to travel – so after about a minute, you’ll be acclimated to things. The core concept is that you go down long corridors, with some being tunnels and others being columns with glass blocking your path.

You can toss marbles at anything, but hitting crystals nets you three balls each – so you can keep going a bit longer if you’re careful. Being careful is key because if you hit a hazard like glass, you’ll lose ten marbles.

Since so many things can block you, it’s tempting to toss all of your marbles at them – but that’s an unwise move. If you toss it at every glass door you come across; you’ll run out of marbles. The key is to watch the path of the glass panels and then see if they will hit you. If they will, then throw a marble to break only the part you need to. It might look cooler to smash the whole thing, but it’s terribly inefficient.

Conservation is key and after a couple of bad playthroughs, you learn the best way to use the marbles. You can use only one to get past a basic glass panel while you might need one or two to get through a switch-activated door. Breaking up DNA strand-shaped glass is trickier since a marble shot breaks off far less of that surface than a panel – requiring more precision if you want to minimize your marble usage.

Your progress is marked for each playthrough, and you’ll feel better as you last longer with each successive play session. Each area looks distinct too, so it can lead to you discovering new challenges and then succumbing to them only to finally triumph over it again. It’s a rewarding game, and its freemium model is a tough, but a fair one.

You can play as much of the game as you’re able to base on your skill – but there’s a catch. Checkpoints are disabled for free users, so if you want to resume your progress, you will need to shell out some money. Luckily, it’s only $2 – so it’s a reasonable sum to gain so much freedom within the game.

Visually, Smash Hit is one of those games that relies on a sharp visual style to make it look good instead of just pushing out tons of polygons. Everything in the world looks crisp and realistic enough, while things that should look real – like the glass, actually do. When you’re barreling towards the glass, you’ll see just how much work went into the textures for it, and it’s honestly impressive by any standard.

Most games would just use a low-resolution texture, but this one works for a high-res look and achieves some of the best-looking glass seen yet in a game period. It also breaks realistically, with little bits splintering off into the world.

From an audio perspective, Smash Hit succeeds more than it fails. The music is subdued, but enjoyable and the relaxed soundtrack fits the game very well. Given how important precision is to success, you wouldn’t want a distracting soundtrack here. Instead, you get songs that compliment the game and allow you to focus on the task at hand.

Similarly, sound effects aren’t overused, and you’ll only hear things for the marbles being thrown and connecting – with outstanding care being taken for the glass smashing sound effect in particular.

Smash Hit is one of the better 3D runners on mobile marketplaces. It controls very well, looks great, and achieves its goal of delivering an exciting play session every time out. It provides excitement through circumstances and light puzzle-solving and never gets frustrating. Its freemium nature allows you to try it out at no cost, so give it a shot if you enjoy runners or just want to try a new entry out in that genre.