It’s like Destroy Build Destroy, only good.
During your childhood years, you likely played with some form of construction toys like Lincoln Logs or Tinker Toys, erecting buildings that you bragged about, admired, and eventually destroyed like Godzilla on a bender. Build ‘n Bash, a “3D Action Puzzler” developed by Skapp Enterprises, lets iPhone players recapture such nostalgic moments, but it throws in a bonus: instead of destroying your own buildings, you need to bust up those made by other players.
The basic premise of Build ‘n Bash is that you have construct buildings using randomly provided girders which come in different shapes. Connecting these girders at various anchor points and rotating them will allow you to place them somewhere in your tower’s layout.
You have to use a directional pad on the left side of the screen to highlight the area you want to place your beam, and rotation is handled via a button on the right side. The interface works, but it’s a little clunky and never feels entirely smooth. Still, it’s far from inoperable.
Once you properly enclose an area with these support beams, a floor is created. Beating a level requires you to create a certain number of floors within a specific time or -if you’re playing the Campaign Mode- complete a building before an AI-controlled opponent.
Battle Mode is the combat version of gameplay, which is extremely fast-paced. Players can choose to go up against multiple game-controlled opponents at once, which is surprisingly tough. By completing floors quickly you will gain attacks that you can send towards your opponents. There’s a variety of ways to hinder an enemy’s progress, such as dropping a monstrous anvil down on their building or freezing their construction abilities for a few seconds.
Every time you gain an attack you’ll want to use it, since the AI is fiendishly difficult and will provide even experienced players with a difficult battle. It almost seems like Skapp knew how difficult these battles would be, because you get to blow up your opponents buildings when you win, which is incredibly satisfying.
Visually, Build ‘n Bash is great. The graphics are in rough 3D, reminiscent of what you’d find on the original PlayStation. You can spin around the structure and get a better look at open areas that still need to be enclosed, and each building you have to construct looks great on the iPhone’s screen.
The only real problem that iPhone users should be aware of is that this is not a terribly friendly game for someone using a 3G unit. On my 3G with OS 4, the game was slow to load a crashed somewhat regularly. However, I don’t think this was a problem with the game itself, since it ran flawlessly on my iPad.
Build ‘n Bash has something for everyone, provided you’re either a fan of architecture or Tetris. Or, you know, smashing buildings. The interface isn’t exactly perfect, but it was never an unpleasant title to play. Instead, it remained a goofy, creative, and fun the entire time.