‘Bop it… twist it… pull it… flick it…’
If you grew up watching television in the 90’s, then the above commands may be familiar to you from the toy commercials that would frequently air on Fox Kids, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and so on. And if that is the case, then you might think you have an idea of what to expect from Bop It! Smash, a new iPhone game from Chillingo and Hasbro.
However, the truth of the matter is that there is little in the way of twisting, flicking, pulling, shouting, or any of the other actions associated with the physical version of the game. Granted, this might be expected, though with the capabilities of the iPhone, you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Instead there is only bopping, and even then, that’s really more a matter of simply touching.
The premise of Bop It! Smash is so incredibly simple: The screen shows a field on which a glowing ball moves in a variety of irregular patterns. In the center is a two-part ring which opens and shuts when you ‘smash’ (i.e. touch– please don’t actually smash your phone) the screen. Inside the ring is another circle, and the closer the glowing ball is to the center of that ring when you smash, the more energy builds in your meter and the more points and ‘Smash Cash’ you earn.
The game’s tutorial also recommends you ‘try smashing the side of your device to trap it.’ In this case, smashing is basically slapping the side of your phone, but the end result is the same as just touching the screen, and is probably harder on your hand (and phone) after a while.
Don’t drop it. Bop it.
There are a couple of problems here, however. One is that the pause button is rather tiny, and we’ve sometimes had it register as a failed attempt to capture the ball rather than pause the game, putting our round to a quick and unintended end. The other is that the line between winning and losing is rather indistinct, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell why you lost when the ball was within the trapping ring.
Bop It! Smash is a free game, fortunately, but those willing can drop money into it if they don’t want to earn the in-game cash. The store offers a few power-ups, including do-overs and the ability to always get a perfect when you capture the ball. There are also upgrades, different fields, different balls, and even different ‘smashers’ (the borders at the side of the screen) you can purchase.
Bop It! Smash feels like it’s too short and simple to charge for, but as a free item, it’s a decent way to kill some time if you keep your expectations low. Even then, you’ll probably tire of the game after a little while, as it doesn’t really have a lot going on. It’s a fun, temporary distraction, and little more.