iPhone App Video Review: Smash Bandits

by Andrew Koziara

Smash Cops and Smash Cops Heat are both unique takes on top down arcade racing games, in which you indiscriminately chase down criminals with extreme prejudice and high levels of violence. Now Hutch Games has brought us the latest sequel, follow up, or whatever you'd want to call it, and they've flipped the tables on us. Now, you're playing as the criminals being rammed off the road by cops in Smash Bandits.

The structure of the game has changed. Now, it plays more like a freemium runner, such as Jetpack Joyride. Same gameplay as the previous games, but the idea is just to last as long as you can on a run, while also fulfilling three rotating mission objectives, as the news chopper follows from above. As you level up and complete objectives, you earn chips, which are the premium currency.

There are plenty of different cars to buy, and each can have their speed, smash ability, and handling upgraded. The higher your smash, the bigger the objects you can plow through while playing. You can even switch over to a speedboat occasionally for a short time, just to mix things up. There is also a large focus on gadgets, such as the puncture proof tires that protect you from spike strips, and the essential ram ability. Taking gadgets into play with you will cost you though, so make sure to keep some reserve cash.

One big negative, which I actually don't mind as much as some others, is the way this game limits your play. Each session you play will raise your wanted level. Once you max it out at 5, you spend time in jail, and are unable to play until it is reduced. Unless you want to save up 50 chips to hire a lawyer, or splurge on in-app purchases. Still, it's not a big deal to stop playing for chunks of time, and other than this, I feel no pressure to buy IAP currency.

The visuals are solid and the controls are great, all built on a concept and franchise that found its footing with the very first entry. It might take time to save up for the upgrades, but each new car and gadget you get feels like you're making real progress as you tackle the Game Center leaderboards. This might be my least favorite game in the series so far, but it's still great fun, and an excellent diversion. You can check it out now completely for free!