Great, fast-paced racing fun across some stunning scenery, but Smash Cars is severely lacking in content.
It’s perhaps bit trite to say, but if you had to sum up Smash Cars in one word it’d be “fun.” If you wanted to add three more, try “while it lasts.” Creat Studios’ fast-paced RC car racer is brilliant, frantic fun and the simple line is if you like slightly wacked-out racing then Smash Cars is for you. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’re really not getting your bang for your buck considering the amount on offer; the quality is there, the quantity is not.
Smash Cars takes place on a fictional island and puts you in control of a whole host of different RC cars, each with different attributes such as acceleration or strength. You unlock more of them as you progress through the races, as well as the ability to change the exterior design. Being only small, you’ll have to dodge people walking across the boardwalk and avoid stray debris like bottles or planks.
However, being tiny has its advantages, since you can sneak through gaps and jump on ramps. As you fly through the air you can spin your truck in different directions – the more you spin the more stars you get, and this earns you boost. Although this boost gives you a huge speed advantage, it also makes your car much harder to control. A suitable downside, perhaps, but it makes things tricky because the handling in general is never really tight enough to provide enough accuracy when evading obstacles or taking some of the corners.
The main campaign sees you racing from the beach to the woodland floor, all realised in stylish and good looking graphics, over three types of events: sprint, knock-out (where the car who is last on each lap gets eliminated) and time trial. It’s worth bearing in mind that the latter two event types are frustratingly hard at times when compared to the relative ease of the sprints. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of learning curve and the uneven difficulty is sure to be off putting to a lot of people. Though, the biggest downside to Smash Cars is probably its complete lack of multiplayer, either in split-screen or online. Considering the briefness of the main campaign, the ability to race with your friends would have been a much needed life extension.
What is maintained throughout all of Smash Cars is the thrilling sense of speed as the camera pulls back from your car and you shoot along the terrain. All the tracks are really well constructed, providing enough space for you and your AI competitors to race alongside each other (while also allowing for some cheeky pushing, should you wish). Little touches such as seagulls flying off when you approach or a plane soaring overhead all add to the experience and make you believe that you’re actually racing around somewhere that’s alive.
If you combined Excite Truck with Micro Machines then it’d probably look something like Smash Cars. That’s not a knock at all, since what you’ve got here is a really exciting, energetic game that is a blast to play at its peak. However, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that there isn’t enough actual content. Sure, there are Steam achievements if that’s something that takes your fancy, but more courses and a multiplayer mode would not have gone amiss. However, it still remains a strong recommendation. The positives outweigh the negatives, it’s just a huge shame it doesn’t last longer.