A collection of target-shooting mini-games that involves popping balloons, throwing pies, and racking up high scores.
Who doesn’t love a good carnival game? Super Smasher takes one of the most well-known casual game fixtures and adds a bunch of colorful panache all around it to create what is ultimately a solid product.
The vast majority of gameplay in Super Smasher involves one task: click on targets that appear on the screen. Click on as many as possible, and do so as fast as possible, to earn the highest score. The simple concept and the ease of the point-and-click interface make the game easy to just pick up and play, which is one of its strongest qualities.
The game revolves around a large board game-style board. The board is divided into different sections, each section representing a different style of play. Players must make their way through each section before they are allowed to advance to the next game type. All the games have the exact same target-shooting mechanism, but they are presented in different ways – one of the games involves shooting peas at balloons, one involves shooting pies at people, etc.
For example, in the balloon game, players use a blowpipe to shoot peas at the balloons, which is achieved by simply clicking on the balloons as they scroll across the screen. Players should also be on the lookout for bonus tokens that appear, increasing their score, as well as valuable blowpipe upgrades that make the peas shoot out faster or makes targeting the balloons easier.
The most addictive part of the target shooting gameplay is in the score structure. Hitting a balloon is worth 10 points, but for each successive balloon hit, the score increases by 10 points. So, if players hit 5 balloons in rapid succession, they earn 150 (10 + 20 + 30 + 40 + 50) points. However, any unsuccessful shots bring the counter back down to 10 points. The addictive part comes with the timing, because even if players hit two balloons successively, but they’re more than just a couple seconds apart, the combo bonus doesn’t apply.
For players who really want to take it to the next level, there’s a lot of strategy involved with this point structure, because the best way to rack up a lot of points is to wait until there are a lot of balloons on screen and go after all of them, instead of just hitting each balloon as soon as it appears. That extra layer of strategy and challenge makes the game captivating for even the most experienced players, but even novice gamers can still enjoy the game. It is commendable that Super Smasher struck that balance right on the head.
That being said, there is one fundamental flaw in the game’s design. Every now and then, informational boxes will pop up, during that game that interrupt the flow of play. These can be anything from a game tip to a notification that the player unlocked a trophy. The problem is that when these boxes pop up, it erases whatever combo point bonus there was. So if players are racking up a 15-consecutive target bonus, and an award pops up, that bonus is set back to 0. That is the only flaw in the execution of the game, but it is a fundamental one.
Amidst all the colorful effects that appear on the screen, players can also collect “mini-game tickets,” which can be spent to play one of three mini-games, all of which provide yet another twist on the target-shooting gameplay. These are designed to be quicker, more strategy-based games that are possible to conquer, but can be very difficult. No matter how many times each mini-game is played, though, players need a mini-game ticket every time they want to play.
So, it is nice to have that reward system in place, where the side mini-games are a bonus for collecting tickets inside the target-shooting games, but it seemed frustrating that there was no way to just play these mini-games at will. Some users will find that annoying, but others will appreciate the fact that mini-game plays need to be earned.
And that is really the entire game. It’s just a lot of target shooting, and at its core it does not look like there is a lot here. However, the bright, colorful carnival presentation is very welcoming and well-done, and the addictive nature of the way the game was designed make Super Smasher a real hit. If not for the notification box interruptions during the game, Super Smasher would be nearly flawless. It strikes that perfect mix of easy to play, difficult to master, and fun for everyone.