Smash Cops is one excellent game that has withstood the test of time by still delivering action packed enjoyment today. With that pedigree, it makes sense to be excited for the brand new sequel Smash Bandits which pits you on the other side of the law. The set-up is similar to Reckless Getaway as you’re trying to get away from the cops, while in Smash Cops you were the pursuers. The damage factor remains, but is taken up a notch as your score is based on the damage you cause. Your goal is to outrun the cops for as long as possible, and it actually turns out to be an endless survival game. One of the best parts of Smash Cops was that it had concrete levels with specific goals, but Smash Bandits does away with a good thing in favor of a method that has been seen countless times.
Smash Bandits is all about action as you ram cops off the road, cause huge collisions with on-coming traffic, run over various items on the streets, and blast through police barricades. All of the action is delivered exceptionally well with a deluxe 3D graphics engine that presents so much detail to the environments, and offers huge explosions. To add to the mayhem, there are unlockable bonus stretches where you can pilot a speed boat or a tank for a limited amount of time. Again, you’re goal is carnage, and your points are based on the television audience you can garner by causing massive destruction. There’s also a multiplier system that act as collectible checkpoints constantly indicated by an arrow pointing you towards the next bonus. You control the mayhem with a smooth system with just one finger on screen placed behind the car, and you’re essentially pushing it forward in a very simple manner with a lot of precision.
Since the game is endless, there are a number of temporary power-ups and unlockables to aim for to keep you driving. Every part of Smash Bandits is designed around the new freemium system, which is another diversion from the paid Smash Cops formula. Power-ups include the ram ability, puncture proof tires, and the tank power-ups, but each one uses the in-game currency. Every power-up is consumable, and they all just work for one run until you buy it again. That means the ram power-up, which is an essential component of the game has to be picked up before every run, with no permanent upgrade option. There are also unlockable cars, but only the first three can be earned, while the latter three require the second form of in-game currency, which relies on IAP. To make matters worse, there’s a wanted level, and it only goes up to five. After your fifth run, you’re locked out of the game until the timer resets your wanted level, or you spend some real money. No game should tell me when I can play, and it’s simply ridiculous that I can only play five runs at a time.
Smash Bandits (Free, Universal) is a perfect example of what happens when you mess with success, leaving a bland endless game overloaded with restrictions that isn’t worth your time.