When a developer has been at the top of the App Store as long as Supercell has, they’ll usually try to pump out hit after hit in the hopes of making lightning strike twice. Not Supercell though. The Clash of Clans creator has always seemed content sticking with what they know best. That’s probably why they only have three games on the App Store.
Well, four if you keep an eye on Canada.
Supercell quietly snuck Smash Land onto the Canadian App Store last night, and it’s freely available to anyone with a Canadian iTunes account to download right now.
Their latest offering explores some new territory for the company, though not necessarily new territory for mobile gamers. Smash Land is built around “pull-and-fire” mechanics similar to Monster Strike — a game that has seen huge success in Japan, despite struggling to make much of an impact in the US.
It’s no surprise that Western market leaders are looking to that formula for inspiration — and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it happen, either. Another sneaky soft-launch, Slide Fight, also draws a clear influence from Monster Strike’s marble-shooting gameplay.
Players in Smash Land pull back and shoot different heroes to try and clear boards full of enemies. Every turn you take, an enemy gets closer and closer to launching an attack of their own. And you’ll want to select which hero to use wisely, as each has their own special attack that only powers up when you’re using them in battle.
We’ve only cleared the first 15 stages so far, and it’s already pretty clear that Supercell is prepared to keep things interesting. We’ve seen spiders that shoot in 8 directions, hives that spawn bees every time they’re hit, and shrubbery that just doesn’t know when to stay put. The levels are cunningly designed; not too difficult, but you still feel a sense of accomplishment with every board you clear.
That said, our experience is still incredibly early with the game, so it’s hard to form a proper opinion just yet. Still — our first impressions of Smash Land are positive.
Before you get too excited about a worldwide release, though, it’s probably worth remembering what happened with Spooky Pop. A match-3 from Supercell that launched in Canada late last year, the game was removed from the App Store just three months later.
We can hope for the best all we want, but region-specific soft-launches happen for a reason.